When Instagram was new (new to me new – #EarlyMajorityAdopter4Life, cozy right behind the curve), and sharing grainy, low quality screenshots of inspirational Pinterest quotes was the rage, I shared this snippet of wisdom with all of my 27 followers:
(#Creativity. Wow. What a hashtag. What an image. Those mighty juices were flowing, y’all.)
Unbeknownst to me, these two cents nestled their roots somewhere nice and deep in my long-term memory, and I’ve found fewer quotes pop in my head as often. Mr. Law’s words were supplemental to an idea drilled down by great mentors and professors through college, which in so many words, is that “one does not simply begin spewing creative genius.”
Sitting in a silent white room, with a blank white sheet of paper (physical or digital it may be), is the best way for that paper to stay blank. Or conversely, filled with so much nonsense, it was better off clean.
Creativity does not happen in a vacuum. Some of your best, creative, most award-winning thoughts may actually happen in the shower (take that, Nick), but I’m willing to bet this is part of your system of creative habit all along, whether you like to think of it that way or not.
Because I might sound like esteemed Creative Guru #1 right now, let’s back up: I don’t know how to unlock anyone’s creative genes so that they begin, actually, spewing creative genius. I also don’t think any guru who may attempt to someday stake this claim with you actually can, either. I don’t even know if creative genius is ever –per se– spewed.
Dialing down to what gets your creative whatever in gear is like finding face wash. The market is nice and overwhelmingly saturated with thousands of face washes and skincare product options, but what is there only one of? Your face. What does it take? Trial and error, and finding exactly which clean skin cocktail works for your face. Not her face, not his face, not Jenifer Aniston’s face -your face.
All I know is, my face really likes philosophy Purity cleanser, and surrounding myself with lovely, inspiring, colorful, life-giving tangible books when I need to jump-start my creative juices. A new favorite I picked up a couple of weeks ago: How To Be A Wildflower by Katie Daisy.
General theme: harnessing the magic of experiencing nature through the eyes of a child, about calming down and taking note of the little things around you, and branching out and doing naturey-type stuff on the regular. Kind of right up my alley -minus the whole experiencing serious nature stuff– but it’s as inspired as I’ve ever been to almost think about going camping since reading Wild.
Thumbing through pretty pages, but also reading particularly well-versed authors and various bloggers, is also part of keeping my mind in a creative place. I also try to write a little something every single day because it just makes my soul feel better.
I keep little notebooks and scratch paper within reach nearly always, and have very full iPhone notes. And a very active Spotify account, because, music.
When I’m out of practice jotting stuff out, reading, or taking time to look through photographs and illustrations of artists and artisans far more talented than myself, I feel it, and I feel sad and rusty.
There isn’t a magic switch to make the acne go away the morning of the big day with the big thing you wish you didn’t have acne for. It’s a bit of a commitment, that pesky standard hygiene thing. With diligence + removing your makeup nightly + using fresh Clarisonic brushes + whatever whatever -there’s a good chance you’ll yield good results.
And there isn’t a switch to make your brain creative. It truly does take habit.
Is it a sure fire way to wake up with the radiance of Chrissy Teigen and the glow of a thousand Kylighters? Heck-to the-no.
I could read How To Be a Wildflower thirty-eight times, cook all the things in all the coffee table cookbooks, write every thought I’ve had the last twelve hours, and all that comes out are stick figures and weak meme punchlines for words. And the pimple is there, right before prom. It happens.
It doesn’t work that way all of the time, but it works for me. Maintaining and trying to keep my mind in a creative space, and develop creative habits, is personally extremely valuable.
I try and stay away from the sad and rusty place, but if I get there, these are all things that help kick my brain back into a space it can start being inspired to make again (and are great preventative tools for me, to begin with.)
And I’m kind of with Monet -fresh flowers never hurt, either.