Actionable Tips To Get More Creative
Up until a few years ago, I hadn't really considered myself a creative person. I've got a younger sister who draws really well, and she eventually decided to get a degree in Fine Arts in college. I'd consider her the official artsy person in the family. Meanwhile, I was that kid who would only care about getting good grades.
It took me almost three decades to discover my creative bone. I didn't know I could actually create and design things, and only then did I really believe that being academic and being creative don't have to be either/or.
When I moved abroad to study, I suddenly found myself out of my comfort zone and struggling to engage in small talk in a foreign language. I studied everything around me with great interest to make sense of the change I was experiencing and to build a life in my new transient home. I learned how to appreciate beauty in its many shapes and forms... not just the ones I'd grown up with.
Reflecting on it, I think that mix of chaos, wonder, and novelty sparked my inner creative.
So let me tell you that based on personal experience, not all creatives are born. They can be made... self-made! Traveling and living abroad can make the "transformation" easier and almost accidental, but getting yourself inspired to become and grow as a creative can happen right in your hometown - and even in your bedroom while you're on your PJ's.
And when you just find that part of you that gets all giddy and inspired to create, life just turns out to be so much better!
You might be one of many who feel inspired to create but aren't quite sure how to start, or you may have already chosen a personal creative project to work on but just need some ideas on how to keep going.
No matter how early or late in life you've discovered your creative side, there are ways that you can continue to grow and nurture your creativity.
These are some of the things I've been doing myself in the past year that I feel have really enhanced my craft and my passion for creating. I summarised them into five action points that you can easily and readily incorporate into your everyday life to become more and more creative by the day.
Find inspiration online and offline.
Realising your creative potential may not always start with you actually creating things. In fact, I think appreciating good art is equally as important. Some of us don't know how to make things, but we sure know what pretty looks like. There's no right or wrong pretty, just that kind that works for you.
Start with your kind of pretty. Go out and explore your city. Take a nature trip. Observe which structures, sights, colors, and vibe excite you.
People-watch, and observe how they carry themselves and their style. Go to a book shop and browse through the art collection. Attend cultural events. Explore your interests and take note of what you like and dislike.
Think of your favorite artists, bands, and designers. What do you particularly like about them? Who were their creative heroes?
The web is also full of wonderful artists and creatives. Browse through Pinterest, Instagram, and creative blogs. You might be attracted to minimal and clean designs like I am, or you're keen on learning a certain skill like calligraphy or line drawing. Head over to these visually rich platforms and get inspired. Keywords would be essential here so you can be lead to the right sources. Key in the colors, vibe, and style you like, and start from there.
Creativity works like that -- it turns into something creative only when you get your hands and brain to work. You can get inspired all your life, but without moving a finger they'll remain abstract. So go out there and start!
If you're still feeling lost or unconfident, take a good tip from Austin Kleon, the author of the book Steal Like an Artist: COPY. Even the greatest artists in history were inspired by someone or something. This is different from plagiarizing though, because finding something a source of inspiration is different from passing it off as your own work, taking full credit, or even making profit out of somebody else's idea. Let's not do that because it's totally uncool.
Think of the inspirational people and styles you noted above. Maybe you can start making a cover of one of your favourite artists' songs, or recreating the style of your favourite painter, or restyling your home inspired by a designer you discovered online. Start looking at the jewellery and pieces that that blogger you're following on Instagram is wearing, and see how you can incorporate similar pieces in your everyday life.
Then slowly, and surely, by mixing and matching and experimenting, you'll find your own creative style and voice in the process. Soon enough, you'll be creating stuff with your own style written all over it! And you'll sure be pleased to have a piece of art that's an extension of your unique self.
Find an inspiring space for your creative pursuits.
This might sound like a good excuse for not creating -- it's far too easy to say that you just don't have enough space.
I live in a 50-square meter flat with my boyfriend, and I don't have a studio to call my own. But I've found my nook in the living room right next to the window with a good amount of natural light. My walls are decorated the way I want them -- whitewashed with clean lines and modern textures - so every time I look up, I'd be greeted by something beautiful.
So I encourage you to go ahead and call your space your creative nook, however small. Try to make it reflect your style and transform into an extension of your creative self, and you'll soon realize how big of a difference that makes.
Connect with other creatives.
One might think that creating is meant to be solitary and a time to be one with yourself and your art. That can be true, but not always.
You can hone your craft by attending a workshop. You might meet people who are on the same level as you, and this is a great opportunity to encourage each other. A little pep talk can go a long way!
A big chunk of my growth as a self-made creative is finding resources and inspiration from like-minded people on the internet. Before, I used to be really shy about posting, asking questions, or even giving a compliment (I'm weird like that!).
But really, it's just like what we said about putting yourself out there on social media -- just go for it because the worst thing that could happen won't be nearly half as bad as you imagined it to be. And remember not to skimp on the honest and positive comments -- what goes around comes around. ;)
Get yourself and your work on social media.
I've still got a long way to go in my calligraphy, watercolor, and graphic design skills. But heck, there'll always be another person who's gonna be better at what you do! So why worry?
That's always been my mantra since I went live on social media. Yes it's scary and downright unnerving. But my experience so far tells me that the online creative community can be very friendly and supportive. In fact, I got a really good boost of confidence posting my what-not's on Instagram.
Embrace your creative life fully by letting yourself be vulnerable. Because really, the worst scenario (your posts being ignored, people not liking your posts enough) can't really be the worst thing in the world in the bigger scheme of things.
And it's true when they say that the fear of something almost always ends up worse than what it's really like in reality.
So go out there and share your art with the world!
I know I just told you to go online and be vulnerable, but there's definitely a time to stop and recharge your batteries. Social media can be a really good place to inspire and be inspired in your art, but it's also true that creativity can only flourish when you let yourself rest and be in a different environment for a bit.
Step out and grab a coffee with friends, bask in the afternoon sun, and take a short walk. Surely, you'll need to take a break, regroup, and come back fresh for your next creative pursuit.
So that's it -- these are some really simple strategies to keep your passion and creative juices flowing.
And now, over to you. How do you stay inspired to create? Which ones do you think would be the easiest to incorporate in your daily life? Feel free to leave a comment below!