Steering away from the line of oh-so-deep posts, I’d like to explore a topic that’s currently the No. 1 on my mind: creativity. I by no means consider myself some sort of a creative guru; however, I strive to create every day. Does that mean I’m entitled to share my tips on how to fight the lack of creativity? Probably no, but I’ll write it anyway. After all, sharing is caring, nicht wahr?
Filter What You Consume
Everybody in this world wants us to consume, that’s a well-known fact. The problem is that the consumption is both material and mental, and resisting the purchase can sometimes be easier than resisting the follow button. Once in a while, I become surprised how much is my brain overloaded with unnecessary impulses. To prevent this overflow, I like to filter the content I intake. This goes to informational resources (news, blogs, books…) & visual media (hello Instagram!). Starting with a clean slate is a luxury.
Redirect the Focus
Closely related to the above: I often find myself unthinkingly staring on a screen with my brain cells slowly dying in vain. While Borges or Kubrick might not be my default option on a Tuesday night, I try to force myself to overcome the mental sloth in me – brain stimulation is much more of a creative boost than a self-narcotization through Netflix.
Utilize the Moments
You don’t have to be riding an emotional rollercoaster to feel moods changing once in a while. Some in particular can be fruitful – I know that breakups are infamously known for being creative catalysts, but sadness isn’t the world’s only muse.
It’s not always about the grand situations: moods are sneaky and subtle. If you can feel the pulse of a special moment coming up, be impulsive, that’s my rule of a thumb. Inspiration is rare and so is the right timing, so I always take notes in my phone, try to create an association with a song, memorize the surroundings.
Don’t Rely on Inspiration
Nothing like being in the right mood, but moods are fickle. When it comes to creativity, I really support the view that consistency > inspiration. Committing to a concrete time frame and a desk can feel drastic, I however find it extremely efficient, especially in the long run. Sometimes you need to grind it out.
Having said that, mastering the art of breaks is crucial. Not that I keep that in mind myself, but when creatively stuck, your break is allowed to be anything from a one-hour walk to a five-month vent. Fair enough, just be honest about when to come back and continue the work.
Share the Process
I struggle with this one so much, but experience has taught me that nothing helps me to overcome writing blocks quite as much as sharing the writing process with others – especially with people who don’t write at all. I tend to hesitate talking about my work before it’s finished, but sharing in fact motivates me to finish. Not only does it force me to be consistent, it also gives me perspective. And vice versa, I love to be a fashion design or linguistic consultant. (Also maybe because I’m such a know-it-all.)
Appreciate the Trash
Sometimes you’re just stuck – the notorious writing block can relate to anything from modeling train sets to sketching houses. You know the creative rush, when you feel like your mind is firing off something new? Creative block is the opposite. When I’m stuck, it feels like I’m just vomiting old, digested words on paper. Ew. I learned to appreciate my shitty attempts, though. I save the error trials, the fuck-ups, the trash. Chances are, you can catch your mind off-guard during these disastrous sessions, and actually strike some fire from it.
Want a really heartfelt tip how I fight lack of creativity? Well, sometimes I just don’t. In a world when everyone feels the need to write a book, shoot a film, influence people on Instagram, it often seems to me that we’re all so eager to create without actually having anything to convey. I think that silence is a wonderful treatment to many problems, including a creative dead end. Sometimes, the most creative thing you can do is to actually listen and observe.