Covid-19 or not, staying creative for a bulk of the time is HARD WORK and can easily lead to burnout. In my line of work, lots of folks are paying me to be creative. No pressure, right?! While it sounds like a butterfly + unicorn type of situation, it can be pretty demanding and requires a lot of critical thinking to dream up creative solutions. Don't get me wrong - it is AMAZING and beyond fulfilling, but the road to burnout is a quick one! When the pandemic hit, it was more important than ever to find the light amidst a sea of unsure feelings and the need to problem solve actually helped jump start my creativity. If you're going through a creative-block, don't freak out. I'm sharing 5 tips on how to keep creativity fresh, no matter what's going on in the world.
1. Step away from tv & social media.
Sometimes the background noise of the TV helps and other times I'm procrastinating while catching up on The Vampire Diaries (guilty). Same thing regarding social! I manage a few accounts so having to keep up with all the notifications and engaging can be time consuming. If I'm in the middle of trying to solve a creative problem, the notifications on my phone is an easy out.
Try turning off the tv and leaving your phone in another room. Instead of TV, turn on music! Music is my number one solve for getting in a creative mood - each song can instill a new feeling. This will help eliminate distractions and allow you to focus on letting go and being creative.
2. Do it for the process
By the words of Emily Jeffords, do it for the process. Instead of forcing yourself to create something with an endgame in mind, let yourself create and take joy in the journey you go on to get there. Focus on creating a process that makes you happy to make your piece in the first place. In my case, this is making my watercolor or pastels from scratch with pigments - it acts as a jump-starter for my creativity and leads to other ideas even though I have an idea for a piece of artwork in mind.
I'm a huge supporter in creating "just because" and passion projects. These help keep creativity alive AND act as a natural marketing strategy to attract new clients who like your work.
3. Experiment in a new lane
Instead of reaching for your medium of choice (words, paint, etc) try creating in a new lane and letting yourself get lost. If you've been following me, you know a ton of my artwork relied on just ink until I recently started mixing my own paint and playing with color. It brings me joy and makes me feel more creative when I get to create work like this! If I hadn't tried creating a new way, I never would have found new inspiration.
4. Do something else that brings you joy.
Sometimes the idea of being creative at all is just a thought that would fry your brain. AND IT IS TOTALLY OKAY if you feel that way! I also just need to take a break from exercising my creative side and do something else. You'll hear it a lot, but stepping away from your space and going for a walk, drive, or even a hike are all great ways to clear the mind. I'll also cook to clear my head and turn up the music (cue tip #1!). There is no wrong way to do this -- do what makes you happy, whether that's taking a nap or playing with your babe. It's all up to you!
5. Create a window of time where you are "unavailable" and only creative
This is SO important and something I only recently started doing. If you own a business (like me!) or freelance, try blocking out time on a shared calendar and put yourself as unavailable. Put an away message on Slack and put your phone on airplane mode. Then leave this time to create. No distractions, no feeling guilty AND guaranteed creative time.
If you're on the 9-5 grind, you can still do this! Use your lunch break to step into a creative state or reserve an hour for yourself after work for this time. Tell your partner and ask them to leave you be for the time you want to create.
And those are my top 5 tips! These have been helping me stay sane and keep my creativity up. If you have any other ideas, please drop them below! I love to learn from you guys and keep the tips going 'round.