I believe I am a creative soul. Yet, I can’t draw well. I am not an expert painter or sculptor or maker. I struggle with putting words to paper. And I by no means can walk on to a stage and recite lines of poetry. I am creative because I have a desire to see the world in fresh ways. I have a million ideas - big and small - and take time to nourish them. I see connections between business, brands and people and try to design collaborations. I am creative because I continue to want to learn, grow and expand.
Creativity is a way to express yourself. It doesn’t mean you have to be only skilled in the arts. Creativity can be found in cooking, home design, dance, medicine, branding, even parenting. It’s a process and an outlook. It’s being open to new things and experiences. It’s finding new inventive solutions. It’s taking action even if the process is risky, messy and not perfect. I believe we all have this creative bug deep inside us. But sometimes it gets lost. Or we just don’t have the time to attend to it.
If your hope is to tap into your creative self in 2016, here are a few easy ways that helped me amp up my creative mind:
1. Design a vision board.
What’s a vision board? It’s a collage of images, pictures and words that reflect your dreams, aspirations and goals. The cutting and pasting process of designing your vision board is very creative and eye - opening. Plus it feels like being in kindergarten again! Just grab a stack of magazines, scissors, a glue stick and either an empty journal or a large poster board. Start the process by tear sheeting pages from the magazines of images and words that make you feel something. Don’t think too much about it! Just tear out anything that resonates with you, makes you smile or reminds you of a personal goal. Once you have a good stack of visuals, then start the design part. Look at the images that you picked and start pasting them on to the board. Follow your creative intuition. There is no wrong way to do this. Fill the board with your images. Once you get started, you will find your own rhythm and all the images will surprisingly make sense together. When the images are all pasted, voila! You are done. You created a vision board that expressed your mind and heart. Now that’s creative!
2) Sign up for a class in something entirely new.
Learn something new that you wouldn’t be able to do on your own. Maybe it’s a cooking class or piano or a new language…challenge yourself to do something outside of your comfort zone. It could be online or in-person (check out www.skillshare.com or www.creativelive.com for online classes). It doesn’t really matter, you just have to make a commitment and show up. I recently started a water color art class and my beginner mindset made me timid at first. But over time, the process of learning a new craft opened up my mind and encouraged me to take more chances with my work. It’s empowering to trust your inner creative.
3) Step away from the computer and move your body.
Staring at a computer screen for hours can suck up your creative spark. As a photographer, I spend too much time like this. What helps me clear my mind is exercise. It could be as simple as a walk around the block or an intense sweat dripping spin class. Just make sure to move your body everyday. Schedule an alarm on your phone reminding you to take a break. This movement will help you gain focus and clarity. It will inspire you to move from stuck to spark.
4) Read, escape.
Get lost in a story. Recharge your imagination through books. Whenever I finish a fiction novel or business book, I feel so alive with new feelings and new ideas. Books are an easy way to spark your creativity. Make time for it! I love turning pages of a real book but audible books are another alternative to keep reading (www.audible.com)
This is my favorite way to fill my inspiration tank and cure creative blocks. Travel to new destinations. Visit a museum. Listen to a new genre of music. Drive to a different neighborhood town. Shop at a new boutique. First time experiences heighten your senses. And this open mindset helps flourish and unleash your creative juices.
So what are you going to do now to tap into your creativity? Make a promise to yourself to take action on one thing. Even a little thing. Once you do, you might feel inspired to try something else. Then before you know it, you may gain creative momentum in all areas of your life. Now that is living an amplified, full, fun life!