I believe that everyone has creativity, whether you consider yourself a creative person or not. And one thing I think we can all agree on is that creativity comes and goes. It’s like this blessing of a mood that gets bestowed upon you. Sometimes, you can call and call and call for it and it won’t show up. But what’s one way that you can bring it upon yourself? You can make sure that you show up every day. If you’re ready to be creative every day, you’ll never miss creativity’s surprise appearance. But if you don’t allow yourself the time to welcome it, it’s going to find that your door is locked and move on without a visit.
When I was in high school, I had tons of creative energy. I used to write prose poetry nearly every day, and I’d write short stories that I don’t know how I’d ever come up with today. In the past 6 months or so, I’ve been trying to reclaim the imagination I had when I was younger. If you’re in a bit of a creative rut, here’s what has helped me.
Follow Inspiring People
It’s no secret that I spend a decent amount of time on social media. And because I spend so much time using it, I want my experience online to be productive. In the fall, I decided to overhaul who I followed on Instagram. I unfollowed people I was no longer close with, unfollowed accounts that made me feel jealous or less-than-worthy, and followed a whole ton of people who inspire me.
I followed photographers who are doing brave things for body positivity. I found illustrators who have a knack for turning everyday life into beautiful, relatable, and touching art. I found a whole community of hobby crocheters and even crochet designers who make their living by creating with yarn (the dream, am I right?). And without social media, I never would’ve known that any of these possibilities were out there.
So now, scrolling through my feed doesn’t show me someone I tangentially knew in college. Instead, it shows me all the wonderful things that other people are creating and man, does it bring on that creative mood! If I’m uninspired, all I have to do is a quick scroll through my Instagram feed and boom, there’s a new stitch I’ve never tried. There’s an amazing composition concept for a photo. There’s an insightful caption to consider for my own writing. It’s all out there, right at your fingertips.
Never Stop Learning
A curious brain is often a creative one, so fuel your mind with new information. The more you know, the more you can be inspired. There’s the saying that the more you see, the less you know, and I think that saying has to do with wonder. The more you learn, the more you know that you have so much left to learn. You wonder more. If you’re not learning, you may be stuck in the bubble of familiarity, and guess what makes creativity hard to come by. You got it, that bubble.
Consider devoting a portion (or all) of your entertainment to enrichment. Try finding the perfect book to spark your creativity, or watch educational videos and movies.
I personally find that Youtube is full of great content for learning. There are plenty of channels devoted to science, nature, food, travel, and more. I learned to crochet from Youtube! You can learn an entirely new skill with the help of that platform, so it’s a goldmine of inspiration.
Try New Experiences
It’s hard to be inspired when your life is just routine. When you start doing new things, you give yourself new sources of inspiration. For instance, when I start to find that all my photos are looking the same, I think about different locations that I could shoot in. I consider colors I haven’t featured before, and I challenge myself to try new compositions.
But moreso than confronting your uninspired work when you start to see it, try to put some spice in your life to prevent that from happening in the first place. Visit new places, cook new foods, or consider trying a new hobby. Newness is sure to bring on inspiration, because how could you be inspired by something you’ve never experienced?
Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
If you’re going to take one approach to sparking creativity, let it be this one. So many times, I feel hesitant to start a new creative project because I’m afraid that it won’t turn out the way I imagine it. Being a perfectionist and being creative just don’t mix. You have to accept that creative energy is unpredictable and imperfect.
Your creativity will betray you time and time again. Whether it refuses to show up when you need it, or it moves you in a completely different direction than you originally envisioned, creativity will sweep you up in its wonderful wake and it won’t care about your intentions. As a result, you may end up disappointed with your final product.
But part of having a relationship with creativity means making concessions. You have to make things you don’t like every once in a while. How will you grow if you don’t try something you’re not already good at? How will you cultivate an inspired voice and vision without letting it be speckled with some flaws? Let yourself fail. I guarantee that your past missteps will be excellent fuel for future inspiration.