Creativity is like a fat, needy cat. You must nurture it, care for it, and feed it to keep it thriving and healthy. As someone who has experienced a creative lull early in adult life, I know what happens when you let your creativity sit idle. I blame my lull on a variety of factors, including a bad high school art teacher/uninspiring college classes, a lack of creative partners, and general laziness on my part.
“I HAZ DA CHEEZ PLUMPS”
Like most people who feel uncreative, I thought that my dearth of creative output was due to some innate lacking. However, in truth, I’d just had it drilled out of me and I needed to do a little work to call it forth again. Really, what I needed was a creative exorcism.
Right before she puked creativity everywhere.
Luckily, at the end of my fourth year of college, as I was nearing graduation with a Bachelors in Journalism, I FREAKED OUT.
Long story short, I started taking studio art classes and began an internship in the Education Department at the Columbus Museum of Art, which eventually turned into a jobby job. I began exploring various media and art concepts, something I was able to do at school and work. I met people who became my collaborators (RIP Art Club).
Art Club, when we were powerful business women.
Slowly, but surely, I became a creative person again! What was really cool was that, though I had switched my focus towards the visual arts, I became more creative in other ways, such as writing. As a journalism student, my writing had been grammatically sound but mind-numbingly boring, even to me. Now it’s not, I think…
So, now that my brain is “fixed” and I’m creative again, I’m very careful to keep it happy and fed on a regular basis, lest I become a sad, Fox News watching sheeple, with no ideas of my own.
Without creativity, the terrorists have really won.
Here’s how I do it:
- Never go too long without a project. It’s nice to take a break but if it’s too long, I get antsy. It’s not that I’m a super serious, prolific artist, I just always have something on the horizon.
- Collaboration! I’m better at going solo now than I was during my creative resurrection, but it still helps. That’s why I joined CAW. Even if we’re not working on a project together, a community of creative minds is inspiring, motivating, and fun.
- Make life into a creative project. I’ve been planning my wedding lately and I’ve had a really good time making the invitations, coming up with a killer look, and envisioning decorations. I figure, if it’s not fun and creative, why do it?
- Remember to be creative at my creative job. The longer I’ve worked at CMA, the more administrative duties I’ve had to take on. BORING. So, I have to remind myself to take time for creative ideas because that’s what makes my programs good and that’s what makes my job rule.
- Healthy patterns. It may sound lame, but I can be the most creative when my house is clean, my fridge is stocked, I’ve exercised, and my other chores are out of the way. I try to keep up good habits between projects, so that it doesn’t get too chaotic when I’m in a frantic time crunch.
- Constant inspiration. This one is easy because it gives me a good excuse to read a lot of books, watch a lot of movies, listen to a lot of music, and go to a lot of museums. Some of my more unique sources of inspiration are quirky museums and roadside stops, old toys, campy sci-fi, and punk rock aesthetics, just to name a few.
I’ve seen this movie a bajillion times.
At this point, I may not be an amazing artist but I’m totally owning what I am and it feels great. I know I will only get better.
So, I’m curious, how do you FEED your creativity?