Sometimes, my attitude about creativity can really trip me up. I start getting stingy with my ideas, hoarding them with the thought that I will need these in the future. I worry that I will run out of creative juices, that I might just use them up. And that’s where I create my own problem.
By hoarding my ideas and not expressing my creativity, I get blocked up. In graphic terms, it’s something like being creatively constipated. Creativity, like riding a bike, requires movement, action.
Curling up in a blanket burrito on the couch was doing nothing to help my malaise. Neither was hiding away my best ideas for a later day.
But what about my idea log?
Sure, keep an idea log. Many creatives I know maintain some kind of listing of ideas for future projects. But an idea is just an idea. It’s not going to get you anywhere on your own, and 50 different artists with the same idea will turn out 50 different works.
The spark of brilliance is not in the idea itself, it’s in the action. It’s in the process of creation. Creativity is not a state of being, it is a state of doing. Creativity is action.
Creativity is self-regenerating action
Yes, that’s right, the act of creating will produce more ideas and more creative juice. The more you create, the more you’ll be able to create.
But sometimes we get a little stuck when we’re in the middle of creating. That happens to me, too. But no amount of saving my best ideas for when I’m feeling more creative will break me out of that kind of funk.
What to do when you’re feeling less than creative
- Action. Like taking a walk. Get some exercise and get your blood moving
- Free writing. Just let it all out. Write till you’re empty and write some more.
- Play with color. Fling some paint around. Color in a coloring book.
- Doodle. Draw shapes, swirls, doodads, and whatever else pops into your head. Draw something ridiculous.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Switch things up a bit. Try a creative activity that is not something you normally do. Write or draw with your non-dominant hand. Create in a way that’s out of character for you.
Just try something different for 20 minutes or so, and then go back to your work and go at it again. A fresh perspective will help.
It doesn’t matter if it’s been 20 years since you last did something you considered creative. We’re all creative throughout different aspects of our lives, from the way we dress to the food we cook and eat. Use that to fuel more creativity.
What are the ways that you hold back creatively? How is holding back impacting your work?