Some time ago I wrote about 5 Ideas for jumpstarting your creativity. These join some of the other ideas in posts about getting your creative thinking flowing including making lists, “mindstorming”, embracing the random, doing research and looking at nature.
Here are 7 more ideas – some brand new, some evolved from other thinking – to help your creativity leap up and start working.
1. Have a Deadline
A hard deadline to get started means that you have accountability to someone or something. It might be as simple as the clock. You’ve made a promise of some kind, and the need to just start, just do something, can be enough.
The secret here is that it doesn’t have to be “good”, just begun.
2. Try Distraction
Set up the conundrum – make some notes, do a quick sketch, read over the brief – then go and do something else. Clean up, do some gardening, exercise. Whatever activity you choose should be lightly brain engaging, but let your hands and body be somewhat active. Let the problem percolate. I don’t necessarily recommend getting lost in a new book, but that might work for you.
Try water sketches. There are zen drawing boards where you dip a brush in water and make ephemeral patterns. Watch the slow changes as the marks dry. Maybe any piece of card board and a wet brush would work sufficiently to let you try this meditative practice.
3. Play with Materials or Images
This is an older idea, but I want to give it a twist to add some intentionality to the process. Make your goal to see things in a new way. Here are a couple of practical exercises.
Take an image and cut it up into shapes, then play with the shapes. Look for new relationships and possibly patterns. This is something that can be cool when you are designing a textile or looking for an unusual garment shape.
Sketch something upside down. By this I don’t mean turn the object upside down before you draw it, but look at it the right way up and turn it over in your mind to draw it as if it were upside down. It’s a mental stretch. In the end, turn your sketch around as see how you did.
Grab this idea from beginner drawing classes, and sketch something without lifting your mark-maker (pencil, marker, crayon, ink pen) from the surface.
4. Learn Something Hard
Memorize a poem, work on a new technique, or work on learning new tech, like an app. The idea is to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone.
5. Do Something Emotionally Scary
Reportedly, Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
Sometimes the scariest thing is to reveal your true self through your art. Be vulnerable. Put an image of something you have made or written out on social media. Offer an opinion on something. Disagree politely or firmly. Wear something that you have made. Perform something. Start a blog, and invite comments. Submit a story or art piece to a publication.
6. Revisit an Old Piece
Go back and try something new based on a finished piece, even one that you discarded. Try writing a description of the work. Perhaps make a second version. If it is a piece of writing, a story, write the same story from a different character’s point of view. Consider it a companion piece to the original.
There will be more on this topic in a Try-It Tuesday post.
7. Ask for Help
Related to doing something scary, to ask for help or ideas from others means admitting that you are stuck – if only temporarily. You can read publications, dive into Pinterest, or scan YouTube for inspiration. But be careful that these activities don’t devolve into distraction and procrastination!
Or you can join a support group of some kind. I was part of a neat group that regularly held themed ATC swaps. They were fun and always got me thinking in a different direction. Sometimes the support group can be just the place to safely and confidentially test out your ideas and get feedback on your art, writing or plans.