7 Ways To Boost Your Creativity
Do you struggle with the feeling that you may run out of creative ideas? I’ve just finished the second launch of my signature course, The Pattern Design Academy, and students are diving into the first module of the course this week. Several comments have popped up in our private Facebook group about creativity, originality, and how to stay current, relevant and yet unique in your design work. Let’s talk about it.
Over the years, I’ve come up with several strategies that work for me. I call them the 7 Ways to Boost Your Creativity. It’s my hope that one or more of these will help you push past those inevitable dry spells that happen to all creatives.
#1: The Abundant Artist Mindset
Shifting from a starving artist mindset to an abundant artist mindset is the place to start. It is no longer the case that artists have to starve for their art. Technology and accessibility enable you as an artist to get your work out into the world in so many new ways. It’s not a foregone conclusion that you’ll never make any money at it. Support your creativity with an abundant mindset. It will help you refill your tank when it’s running on empty.
Creativity is not a constant. It definitely ebbs and flows. You will experience dry spells. But if you embrace this abundant artist mindset, those creative juices will flow again. You’ll recognize the dry spells for what they are: just short-term periods when you need to refuel.
#2: Carry A Notebook
I realize that we live in a digital world. However, having a small notebook in your pocket is a fabulous way to capture ideas whenever they strike. You may be walking through a museum and a new idea hits you. Sketch it out or just jot the idea down in your notebook. Add doodles or other random marks. A new idea may pop into your head while you are flipping through a magazine. Tear the sheet out and drop it into your notebook with a note about what specifically caught your eye. Was it the colors, a font perhaps, or the overall layout of the page?
You can capture these ideas digitally on your phone but it’s a lot more fun to write them down and add flourishes or doodles. You may turn these playful marks into a fabulous background texture some day!
#3 Move Your Body
Go outside for a short walk. Simply getting up from your desk and moving away from your computer or laptop for a little while will revitalize you. Even if you draw and sketch by hand, like I do, you’re sitting down a lot. And when you digitize your work in the computer, you’re also sitting. Incorporate breaks into your day and go outside for some fresh air.
Don’t spend these breaks surfing the web or checking your email. Rather, get up and move around. You’ll get the blood flowing throughout your body and this will lighten your mood. You’ll feel refreshed and more positive when you return to your studio or work area.
#4 Change Your Environment
Where do you work most of the time? In your studio, a separate office-type space inside your home or simply at the kitchen table? It doesn’t matter but what can help boost your creativity is changing it up. Explore using a co-working space a few times a week. If you work in an office, change it up by working in the kitchen or lounge area if you can.
The simple step of orienting yourself differently in a space can change your perspective and you may notice new things that you didn’t notice before. Maybe you always look out towards your front garden. Switch things up and sit somewhere where you can look out onto your back yard. You get the idea.
#5 Try Something New
This is really fun! If you usually sketch in pencil, try sketching in pen and ink instead. You’ll awaken totally different muscles and amazing things may happen. If you need a change from sketching, try watercolor. Online membership sites like Skillshare have thousands of classes to explore. This can be a great way to spend an afternoon when you need a break from what you are currently working on.
I’m taking a free Procreate for Beginners class right now that’s available through Teela Cunningham’s website every-tuesday.com. It’s fantastic and the cover image I designed for this blog post was inspired by the first exercise that she has students complete in the program. SO. MUCH. FUN!
#6 Practice, Practice, Practice
This may be my favorite tip of all because it has so many related benefits. Even if you can’t start or maintain a daily creative practice, practicing as often as you can yields huge benefits. First of all, if you practice a lot, you know, right off the bat, that your work can’t possibly be great or perfect all the time. This takes a heavy burden off your chest since so many of us are perfectionists.
Practicing a lot is also great because you create a ton of work. This helps you identify your own unique style faster and helps you hone in on what brings you the most joy in your creative work. You’ll make progress faster and when you look back at your work from, say, six months earlier, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come.
#7 Create Before You Consume
I heard this first from Bonnie Christine, a beautiful surface designer, living in the foothills of North Carolina. I believe she heard it from Lisa Congdon, an artist in Portland, Oregon. The idea is that in today’s oversaturated world, it’s very important to turn the noise off periodically and meditate or simply spend quiet time so your mind can rest.
If you’re a morning person, don’t pick up your phone as soon as you wake up or check your emails. Create a personalized morning routine that includes some creative time for YOU. If you’re an evening person, turn off all of your electronic devices and light a candle to help you relax and detox from the day. Sit still for a few minutes to calm your mind before you turn to your creative project.
That’s a wrap on my 7 Ways To Boost Your Creativity. I’d love to know which of these tips resonates the most with you. Which will you try and what ideas of your own do you have to share? Join my email list and write to me about it.
It’s Never Too Late to Create
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My creative inspiration comes from a lifetime of observation living in, and traveling to, beautiful environments in the United States and abroad.