Whether you have a creative job or creativity is your way of escaping from reality, we all know what it’s like to hit a wall. Constantly burdening yourself with the task of coming up with new ideas can become daunting after time, especially when you’ve been so wrapped up in the creative process that you’ve forgotten what triggers most people’s creativity in the first place.
How do you resuscitate your creative side when it needs it the most? For some, simply walking away from the project at hand for a few hours or even a day will do the trick. For others, it’s not quite as simple to get complete a project.
Stimulate Your Right Brian
Most creatives initially pull from life experiences to boost their creativity. Writers write about what they know, illustrators draw what they’ve seen, and musicians mimic the sounds they’ve heard. But once we’ve pulled everything out of our mind bank, what’s left to use for our creative practice?
In your regular life, start curating a list of interests. What movies, books, or museums have you been wanting to experience? Which artists have inspired your role models? In most cases, quantity is more important than quality. As a creative, it’s important to seek fresh inspiration each and every day. It’s easy to become bogged down with the practice and the monotony of everyday life. However, if you become aware of what kind of fuel your mind needs to continue creating, you can get ahead of this problem by planning out activities every week or month to freshen your perspective.
You should also push yourself to experience a variety of different mediums. As a writer, I can find inspiration on television dialogue, musical lyrics, and more. When searching for inspiration, it’s important to remember that there are no bad ideas. Don’t worry about choosing the right medium, artist or exhibit. Instead, focus on opening your mind and pursuing the topics that actively interest you. If you want to experience an avant-garde art display, you should!
Hit The Road
You’ve hit the creative wall. Now it’s time to hit the road. There are several reasons why this could work for you, let’s review a few.
- Time alone with your thoughts. Chances are, you aren’t just a creative. You have a laundry list of other responsibilities to tend to. Finding time to go on a road trip can help you quiet your mind. Not only does it force you to think through everything without acting, it also gives you a chance to resolve things internally that may open you up and help you reach a more creative mental space along the way. However, you should also come prepared with an app that allows you to capture your thoughts while driving. Most iPhones have an app for voice memos. This is a simple way to record your thoughts while on the road. Just hit the big, red button, speak your mind, and hit the button again. When you get out of the car, listen to these thoughts, write them down, and save them for future inspiration.
- New experiences. If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably let yourself get into a routine that isn’t beneficial to your creative practice. For the most part, you probably see the same people, eat the same types of food, and go the same places each and every day. Sure, there’s an occasional break from the routine, but a lot of the times breaks only come when something goes wrong. Going on a road trip will allow you to experience something new the way you want to experience it, whether that be visiting a new town where you know no one, trying a new dish you’ve never heard of before, or meeting new people and hearing about their life experiences. All of this will feed your creativity in a healthy way and leave you feeling refreshed upon your return.
- Old experiences. In addition to trying new food and fun attractions, you should also consider historical activities. Museums, galleries, and national monuments are steeped in history. All of these locations are filled with the emotions and memories of the people who came before. When you go, try to quiet your mind and feel what others might have felt. This exercise in empathy can help you broaden your mind and find new inspiration. When choosing historical attractions, think back on your list of experiences. Are you interested in American history or the history of multicultural authors? With a little planning, you can choose a location that will open your mind to new ideas.
- Time to learn. When you’re in the car by yourself, you have a few options. You can be alone with your thoughts as previously mentioned, thinking through your problems, stressors and brainstorming ideas. Or, you can absorb someone else’s creative mind by listening to some music or downloading a great podcast. It may be hard to slow down and take advantage of any of these options in your day to day, but while hitting the road you’ll be free to do so on your own time. Last, but not least consider downloading an audiobook. This medium will allow you to experience the written word in a different way. This tip is perfect for writers, storytellers, and others who work with words.
Make A Plan
We get it, creatives are spontaneous. We like a little bit of unpredictability in our lives. Luckily, the planning process doesn’t have to be a bore. Use this as another opportunity to innovate. First, you’ll want to select a destination. Remember the list we made earlier? Whip out your list of books, art, and other experiences, and ask yourself how many line items have real-world counterparts? If you’re a jazz musician, consider visiting the streets of Harlem. This is one of the best parts of the planning process. Once you decide where you’re going, you can truly open your mind up to all that you’ll experience along the way.
Next, you’ll want to find your route and, time permitting, plan some stops before you reach your final destination. This is a great time to book your lodging to force yourself to commit to the timeline you’re setting. Then, you’ll be able to get to the truly fun parts. Research local attractions at each of your stops, plan out your playlist and download your podcasts of choice. Make a packing list, pack your bags and hit the road.
Different methods work for different people, but all creatives have one thing in common: we must take the time to experience new things to continue our practice. So, pick your destination and start the planning process. You never know what you’re missing until you see it for yourself.