By Tiffany Chaney
Jumpstarting creativity is a little like getting a stalled car to start—there’s a spark of life in the engine, but it just won’t drive. Creativity, too, has its hibernation period, whether you had to take a hiatus due to life circumstances or the ideas just wouldn’t come.
It may be as simple as changing the way you handle the creative process. Here are five tips to help spark your creativity.
1. Let Yourself Be Bored
Have you practiced the art of boredom? Allowing yourself space to be bored can help you develop your creativity, too.
Notice what your mind wanders toward and away from—chances are that it’s more than listlessness at play. Seeing what pulls your interest helps wonder lead the way.
2. Surround Yourself With New People
Meeting new folks in the arts or in another industry altogether can help inspire a new worldview or insight on a topic that’s challenged you. Conversation generates an idea flow and energy exchange that motivates you to not only think in different ways but act in new ones, too. Share your interests and actively listen to others to engage new forms of creativity.
3. Perform Chores or Menial Tasks
Taking forever to do the dishes may be a good thing when you let your mind wander—it frees your subconscious to explore new ideas mindfully. Take in every detail with your senses.
Thich Nhat Hanh’s book The Miracle of Mindfulness describes the technique as follows:
“While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes, which means one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. At first glance, that might seem a little silly. Why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that’s precisely the point. The fact that I am standing there and washing these bowls is a wondrous reality. I am completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions. There’s no way I can be tossed around mindlessly…”
Besides, you’ll get more housework done.
4. Change Your Medium, Change Your Perspective
Turn the painting upside down. Challenge the mold you’ve grown comfortable in by breaking out of it. Try your process in a different medium. Instead of oils, use ink. Instead of typing, write in cursive in a journal. Instead of visualizing, move your body and dance it out.
Look at your work from a different perspective by changing the medium or way you work. This act will give you a new perspective as you overcome various challenges. Some of the most inspiring works are generated through mixed media, and it’s okay to brainstorm in a different medium, as well. Maybe you’re “stuck” because you don’t identify with a certain perspective any longer.
Spending long periods seated or doing a solitary activity can adversely affect the body over time, from low mood to back pain. The brain also uses a significant percentage of the body’s energy which derives from circulating blood. Remember to get up every so often to avoid these symptoms and keep your mind fresh.
Go for a walk around the neighborhood, or take a salsa dancing lesson. Explore local galleries and museums. Window shop in the next town over, and stop for coffee at the end of the day. You’ll surely see or experience something inspiring.
When was the last time you took a vacation? Spark your creativity by making a vacation checklist of what you’ll need traveling to your dream overseas destination. Sometimes, you need a big change of scene that only a vacation offers, and daydreaming can do wonders for your creativity.
The most important thing you can do to generate new ideas and creativity is to persist. Keep creating; no creation is too small.