Needing some off-road survival tips to get you one track?
Plans get postponed or land in your lap like a pile of trash.
Potholes send you off road without 4-wheel drive.
That’s what often passes for my highway to success. I find myself there on a regular basis!
How about you?
I want to write and create content, articles and books that entertain, inform and you to commit to the life they want and have the tools to do it. I want to be a better photographer and create more interesting images for my blog posts. I want to spend every day being the ME I’ve postponed for 60 years.
How to be creative, even when it seems the world and your own fears and deficiencies conspire against you, is my question these days. This is the topic I woke up with and can’t avoid writing about. Just getting the words on the page is having a beneficial effect already (Tip #1 perhaps?), so let’s dive in with some suggestions.
Getting creative in spite of it all:
- Tip #1 – “Morning Pages” – early morning peace, blank paper, cup of coffee, cozy sweater and ‘fur’ lined slippers, great pen – now write! Write about all the crap that keeps landing in your path, write about the people that really bug you and disrupt your days (suggestion – be sure you have a secure hiding place for that notebook!), vent, rant and generally make a mess of at least 3 pages! Phew…that’s better!
- Tip #2 – WALK – there’s nothing like a good, solitary walk. Deep breathing, birds in the trees or glistening city sidewalks (or maybe the trash along the sidewalk gives you a different sort of inspiration) or just the opportunity for your eyes to focus on something other than a computer screen. Walking has been proven to do all sorts of great things for your body and brain, inspiring creativity via the simplicity of oxygen, happy hormones like serotonin that lead to that niggling craving for some paper to write down the ideas that pop into your head. Bring along a moleskin in your pocket or perhaps a digital recorder. No phones though…I find they disrupt my energy flow as I keep thinking of all the people I SHOULD be calling…not on my walk, mister. Best of all, you get away from the dishes, laundry or pile of paperwork that keep calling to you.
- Tip #3 – Laugh – read the comics, watch a great video (keep a YouTube playlist of videos you find that make you laugh. Babies and cats are some of my favorites!). If you need a longer fix, watch one or your favorite comedy movies or read some stories from your favorite fun book. I like travel stories like Erma Bombeck, or There’s No Toilet Paper . . . on the Road Less Traveled: The Best of Travel Humor and Misadventure (Travelers’ Tales)
- Tip #4 – Cry – No, don’t watch the news. I mean cry in a way that connects you with the human race and moves you to be a better, more inspiring writer or artist. If it touches you, then that often inspires you to create something that touches others. Create your go-to bookshelf, video playlist or memory/photo album handy for this one.
- Tip #5 – Connect – I sometimes force myself to sit in my desk chair until I complete a planned project. My bum starts aching. Until I realize talking with someone I love, respect or just enjoy talking to is what I need. Why do you think Starbucks is so popular for the work-from-home-set? Just the buzz of other people talking can be enough…sometimes. But if you have a solitary creative process, setting a goal to meet someone for lunch or coffee at least 2 times a week can be the change that does you the most good. What’s your favorite connecting spot? Gym, meetup groups, adult classes, community events? Find one because you’ll never get everything done, if that’s what you’re waiting for.
- Tip #6 – Disconnect – Some days I need to go someplace where nobody knows my name, phone number or email address. Like a patio restaurant, favorite beach, park bench or maybe that dark, artsy coffee bar in a different part of town. Unfamiliar surroundings, eavesdropping on conversations, even reading a free magazine you find along the way can jump start an idea I’d totally forgotten. Ideas bombard me every minute. The trick is to pick one and take action. New surroundings can be the inspiration you need. Bonus idea: If you never take the bus, take the bus alone. Try something new, all by yourself.
- Tip #7 – Kids, dogs & cats, oh my! – Don’t have any handy? Borrow one. There is nothing like the spontaneous energy, virgin enthusiasm and unspoiled wonder of children and animals. Every day is an adventure. How dare we be bored, whiny, unproductive adults? Shame on us. Got more time? Visit a zoo or nature preserve or volunteer someplace where you can get your ‘fix’ on a regular basis. Extra bonus: If you work it right, you can get the” laugh, cry, connect” tips all in this tip right here!
Some of these seem contradictory. That’s how life is. That’s also how people are. We need different solutions on any given day. That’s why you’re so fascinating, too.
And that’s why we want 7 tips instead of just 1!
That’s it for now. More ideas are popping into my head, but I’m curious to hear what you peeps out there do to jump start your creativity when life gives you lemons or leftovers.
For more posts on Creativity on Getting Traction: