Five Ways to Boost Your Creativity
As creatives, there will always be times in our lives where at some point we lack the creativity that we sometimes need. So how can we conquer this, and give our creativity a boost?
Step out from your bubble
"Do one thing every day that scares you" - Eleanor Roosevelt
'Step' is an understatement - I actually mean leap outside of that comfort zone of yours - the more out of your 'bubble' the better. The more you dred doing this the better.
Yes you'll get nervous and have that sickly feeling in your stomach but that's normal so consider this a good thing.
Despise the thought of dancing? Take up tango.
Hate talking in front of large groups of people - volunteer to do the next talk!
Love your photography? Why not be on the other side of the lens for the day at a new location.
At the end of it you will not only feel invigorated but your self-confidence will explode after coming out the other end intact, realising that it wasn't that bad after all.
Not only will you surprise yourself, but you'll be hungry for more aiming for harder and more fearful challenges.
You'll have learnt something new from the experience and have given you a chance to look at things in a different light.
Learn a new skill
Learning gives creativitiy. Creativity leads to thinking. Thinking provides knowledge. Knowledge makes you great. - Abdul Kalam
Organisations such as Google know of this importance as they instill a policy known as 'the 20% rule' allowing employees to take one-day off from general work duties to focus on side projects of their choice.(It's reported that from this we got Google's Adsense, Maps and Gmail.)
And if you complete the above, there's hundreds more for you to try.
Not only does learning a new skill increase your offering to others and in yourself, it can ultimately increase your salary too.
There are major skill shortages within the UK's creative industries that are simply not being addressed (set out in Creative Skillset's Workforce Survey) some of which could be of interest to you, and possessing these high demand skills can earn you a small fortune.
Evaluate and expand your circles
You, like me may have a number of close friends who are pretty similar to how you are.
By this I mean, I used to work in construction and most of my good friends do too. In your case perhaps, you're a film maker and the majority of your house mates or friends most probably work in a department relevant to the Film and TV sectors.
When I realised I wanted out of the construction game and move into the marketing and events world, I realised I had to go beyond my circle to find and meet these people.
There's no point talking events & marketing with electricians and plumbers, just as talking games design with documentary makers.
I am definitely not saying ditch your friends! No not this.
What I am saying is branch out to people who you consider may not be typical in terms of interests, hobbies and work. Their outlook on life and their experiences could be completely opposite to you.
Respect that, and more importantly keep in contact with that person - as they say, variety is the spice of life.
Meeting new people not only adds to the black book of contacts but helps strengthen the muscle of communication, making new friends and contacts in the process. The skill of communication should never be underestimated.
Keep an open mind. Always.
"The eyes are useless if the mind is blind"
Sounds simple but I think it can be difficult to sustain if you have become set in your concrete ways or surrounded by individuals that love to inflict their negativity on you and others.
It is easy for others to dismiss things because they hadn't enjoyed the experience but what's worse is when that same individual advises you against the same thing because of the distaste they got from their experience.
This might not be done intentionally by the person, but be aware in yourself to not accept something as is without experiencing or trying it yourself.
By keeping your mind open you keep your options open, therefore more doors leading to more potential opportunities.
Essentially, It might be bullshit for one person but could be an eye-opening experience for you. Take a lead of your own destiny.
Take a break
"Disconnect to reconnect"
You might be wondering why the new ideas and material aren't flowing as before?
In today's age of constantly being switched on, it can be somewhat diffcult to actually switch off.
When I go abroad I leave my smart phone at home and take an old non-smart phone (the types when Nokia were in their heyday). This means no Facebook, no internet, no emails and completely switching off digitally.
There is a whole heap of research that's gone into the benefits of a 'digital detox' which you can find below:
Besides digital, many creative types have projects that run concurrently with their full-time jobs and the little free time that they do have is usually made the most of by catching up with friends or family engagements, so exhaustion can creep in.
Hence, if you are struggling for creativitiy, take a step back, heck take a seat, and evaluate what you have on and whether it is simply too much.
The well-earned break will help attract some stability into your life, a refreshed energy and an improved ability to harness your focus.
Over working is counter-productive.
Change of scenery
It might sound simple but a change in your surroundings can help out in times of creative need.
When I worked from home some years ago, I found I was becoming a little depressed at being in the same room when working, especially as it wasn't the greatest at taking in natural sunlight.
Despite having a laptop I never ventured to new locations let alone a new room. I began by mixing it up by working in the living room and the kitchen (really pushed the boat out).
Some days I would rock up at the library and other days I would go to my Grandmother's house. (Killing two birds with one stone there!)
And for times when I didn't need the internet, I'd stroll down to the park and get work done there. Replacing my dreary surroundings for a mixture of locations improved my mood and my productivity, and new ideas came easier to me as a result.
So if you find you're always working in the same environments, perhaps try a new location. If your job consists of working from a specific place, such as a Music Producer would at a studio, go off for a walk at lunch to take in some new scenary.