Creativity is the artist’s trademark. It’s what makes us different, and draws others to us. For professional artists it’s our livelihood as well as our way of life.
Perhaps the greatest fear for any artist is a fear of losing their creativity; of running out of ideas, which seem for most of us to come suddenly without warning and leave even faster when they’re truly needed.
But there’s no need to live and die by the artist’s muse. I’ve found that creativity can be nurtured and developed every day with a two-fold intention: to find ideas around every corner, and to deliberately make new choices as often as possible.
I try to inspire great ideas by keeping a mindset of curiosity from the moment I wake up until I fall asleep at night. I also give myself a set time each afternoon just for thinking and daydreaming. Taking a half-hour to let my mind wander has brought me many of my best ideas, both in art and elsewhere.
This blog, for example, is the result of one such daydream when I let myself imagine some ways that I could positively impact the world. In this particular instance, a single idea set events in motion which are changing the entire course of my life.
You can also use creativity in your day-to-day routine by choosing to avoid the same old habits. Try driving to work along a different route, or revisiting your childhood by climbing a tree. Break out of the ordinary, mechanical actions of your day and see what a difference it can make.
When I was in college I had a professor who believed in this type of constant creativity. I remember a time when he messed with the standard analog clocks in every classroom of the art building. He rotated them all different amounts so that they had the wrong numbers in every spot, but then set them for the correct time, ignoring the numbers. So straight up was still 12, even if there was actually a 7 in its place.
The result? The clock’s hands were always correct, but the numbers made no sense. And our perception of reality was jolted slightly whenever we checked the time.
He managed to change the way we thought, just a little bit, in a very random way. Even small efforts like that can have an effect, and open our minds or spark a creative thought that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.
Enjoy those little quirks, or make your own. Why restrict yourself only to the obvious and necessary in life? I do realize that some things are unavoidable and can’t be ignored, like earning money, and supporting your family – you can’t stop doing these things, nor would you want to.
But in those middle hours, between the daycare and the office; when all you’re doing is moving on autopilot, mind buried under lists and details and . . . stop.
Take a breath.
Look around, and really see. Lie in the grass and remember what it was like to find shapes and stories in the clouds. Dream big, without any limits, no matter your talent, your circumstances, or where your life is headed. Write down those dreams, and when the time is right, go all out and achieve them.
Always expand your horizons. Meet new people. Eat your dessert first on occasion, or take a spontaneous road trip to another state or country. Don’t pack, just go.
Free yourself. Creativity can grow once you’ve thrown out some of the old thoughts and habits you’ve always carried.
There are no limits to what you can achieve, both in art and life, if you don’t hold yourself back.
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