As promised, I’m having a recap of what I talked about on Etsy’s Virtual Labs. The topic at hand was Inspiring Creativity, and so I’ll break it down to more manageable chunks about how to be more creative — remember all these ideas aren’t new at all, but these are the ones that worked for me to get me into gear:
About fueling creativity:
- Creativity is fueled by experiences, sights, sounds and smells. Sitting still won’t bring new ideas in; experimenting and trying new things will jog your creativity.
- I maintain a certain pattern to the day, with my morning bath signalling me that I am starting my work with a fresh mind and spirit. After breakfast is when my day officially begins — I turn on the radio and look at my to-do list (see #3).
- I jot down notes every night before I go to bed about what I need to accomplish the next day. This way, I’m actively placing my worries onto paper so I can go to bed not fretting about what needs to be done.
- I have a box labeled for each different project I’m involved in. So I toss everything I have in one box, and I don’t worry about misplacing things or ideas. This one was inspired by The Creative Habit
- I also keep a different sketchbook for different topics and ideas. I have one for business, one for random sketches and another for my writing. And in these sketchbooks I sometimes allocate different sections so that my thoughts don’t get messed up too much (there isn’t a search function on them, like a computer does!)
- And I throw these sketchbooks all over the place, so when I have a thought I scribble it down quickly.
- I try and find the pattern between things, and connect the dots between random things just for fun when I’m stuck in a rut. Like when I see the color yellow around me, and then I start to focus on finding yellow things — stuff that I didn’t notice before will show themselves to me. I’m heightening my sense of awareness because I’m narrowing my focus to one thing.
- Doing things differently helps. I love calligraphy, but sometimes I seem to be stuck in a rut — it seems that I could only write in a certain way! So I stop, and see what others are doing, and try to analyze what I could do differently. A little more pressure on the downward stroke? Or how about adding more flourishes to that letter? It took me about a week of constant practice to free up my hand. If you’re stumped for ideas, have a look at Keri Smith’s 100 ideas to get you started.
- Practice, practice, practice. Creativity is like a muscle that you need to flex regularly. I dread staring onto a blank piece of paper, but everything begins with that first stroke. I’m a perfectionist, so I train myself to not use erasers at all when I’m drawing. And if I do make mistakes, I start on a new piece of paper — that way I let new ideas in and not just dwell on what I previously did.
Here are some books in my collection that I pick up whenever I need a boost:
- The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp : I love this book. Twyla is a dancer and choreographer, but a lot of the things she has to say cuts across all disciplines.
- How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum by Keri Smith : Keri reminds everyone to put on their explorer goggles and look at the world with new eyes — I did a review of her book here.
- Living Out Loud by Keri Smith : Although the book is a little girlish for guys, I love the article she wrote about how to find what you love to do
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho : This is an amazing book that I pick up and read again and again. The message is simple — you won’t find what you’re looking for until you follow through on your dreams.
- How to be an Illustrator by Darrel Rees and Nicholas Blechman : I like how they talk to illustrators and get their feedback on running a creative business.
- Lines & Shapes by Lena and Mav : Amazing artists and beautiful, beautiful pictures. I have volume no. 5 and I treasure it.
- The first issue of the Good to Know project : I like keeping a copy on my bookshelf so I can read up on what my friends have to say about being creatively stuck.
Stay tuned for the second part which I’ll be posting tomorrow It’s ready! Click here to read the second installment of my recap about competition and copycats!
p/s: Talking and reading all your thoughtful messages during the Virtual Labs session (especially the whispers that some of you passed on) made me feel so much better! But I do have to say that reading the chats while having to focus on talking was a little hard, mainly because I wanted so badly to talk back to each and every one!