BY JEN OLENICZAK BROWN
Inspiration might seem hard to come by nowadays, and no one blames you! From the sheer amount of change to adjust to in the world around you, it’s not hard to imagine that your creative juices might be drier than they have ever been – and even though so many things have changed, you need that inspiration!
If you’re finding yourself stuck on empty, keep reading to find that creative prowess!
First…Clear Your Mind.
Know the worst thing you can do when you’re trying to be creative? Think about how you can’t be creative. I feel like I’m constantly telling people ‘take a breath,’ and it’s so true and helpful! If your narrative is ‘Oh, no, I need to be creative. I have nothing to be creative about. What do I do? Maybe I’ll focus on this. No, wait. Oh, no!’ and it circles around over and over, you’re not going to get anywhere.
Tap Learning Styles
There is a theory that there are multiple modalities of learning – essentially, we all learn in different ways, from doing to listening to the internal conversation and spending time with nature. While the theory is highly disputed that these styles of learning are more than special interests, psychologist Howard Gardner coined eight specific categories that individuals learn through. Here’s a quick outline:
Verbal-Linguistic – oral and written language
Logical-Mathematical – equations and proofs
Visual-Spatial – maps and geographical information
Musical – sound
Naturalistic – nature and the natural world
Bodily-kinesthetic – physical movement
Interpersonal – conversation
Intrapersonal – internal reflection
Try tapping into one or more of these and see what comes out of it. Maybe you sit outside or look at maps or listen to new music. Experiment and see if anything sparks!
Dive Into Your Senses
This might seem intuitive, but hear me out. Spend some time really diving into your senses. Go to a space in your house, outside, a new location – and walk through all of your senses one at a time. Think about everything you can see, smell, touch, hear, and, if you’re able, taste. Really take time to label all of those things clearly – this space smells like fresh rain, or dirty socks – and focus on the tangible.
By doing this, you’re giving your brain a bit of a break away from the processing it’s probably doing in the background on whatever you’re trying to be creative with. Know how we get new ideas in the shower? Similar mentality here – you’re allowing the focus to be dispersed away from overthinking by spending time with things you can actively label and name.
Process over Product
A lot of times, I get stuck in my own creative rut when I’m fixated on perfection. I’ve written two books, a lot of articles and think-pieces for various outlets – and through all of that, I’ve learned something very important that I wish someone would have told me in the beginning. I’m going to tell you because it’s magic. Ready?
You cannot edit blank pages. You can always edit garbage.
Even if you think whatever you are putting out there is the worst idea in the history of ideas, you can always work with something – you cannot work with nothing! If you focus on the process of creation versus this brilliantly shiny end product, you’ll allow yourself to experiment, make mistakes, and edit to awesome. If you don’t give yourself that space, you will stay stuck.
Sleep on It
This isn’t just about taking a nap or waiting a day to go back to the idea or creative concept that has been keeping you up at night – this is quite literally, give yourself a break from it. Pick up another project, think of a new idea – whatever you have to do to give that idea a rest.
And come back when you’re ready. Good luck!