Hacks to keep you creative while the world is closed.
Liverpool was not a happy place at the end of the 1950’s, but it brought us The Beatles. Growing up in a dark place, with limited prospects and an uncertain future meant John, Paul, George and Ringo used their creativity to escape. Strawberry fields and Penny Lane didn’t dwell on days without work, or dangerous pub fights at night. Their creativity, that has brought joy to the world for over 50 years, came from difficult days. As our world battles a pandemic, lock-downs, curfews and quarantines are touching us all. How we manage it all, affects us all in different ways. For those of us in the creative sector, the challenge is to hold on to the positivity that helps us to create. Here we offer some short hacks that, during these extraordinary times, we hope will help to keep your creative flame alive.
Don’t force it.
If you’re anxious or worried, creative thinking can be clouded. So, don’t push it. Forced creativity is not true creativity. Even in easier times, creativity will not always come quickly. Creativity is indeed a bi-product of positive thought – it comes from ambition and a spark that inspires, and these are qualities that are perhaps lying dormant, the time it takes for them to reappear, for an individual to feel naturally creative again will vary. As motivation returns, the craving for creativity will come back, as will positive creative ideas. With it comes the endorphins, the satisfaction and that all-round enjoyment that creative brains feed on. Ride it out, you will know when it feels right.
There was a time when we yearned for time to do nothing. A long weekend to drop-out and recharge, today each day may seem too long. It’s because are days are now very different – unprecedented and unusual times that require an unusual approach. The idea to ‘do nothing’ is alien to most of us, but today, it may have an important role in helping us to accept that it is in fact ok to be under productive – realizing that we can sometimes have nothing to do is a clear indication and acceptance that we are living through strange times. It is key to understanding the situation and keeping the situation under control. So, it’s okay to take some time to adjust. To acclimatise and accept. It’s about finding that precious head space, before finding that special good space. In moderation, procrastination and forced hesitation can bring calm to the confusing challenges we are all experiencing.
“Remind yourself why you are creative. Go back to the beginning, the first drawing or painting you loved, the first headline that made you think, the first ad you watched, or the first creative critique at your first weeks at college. Rewinding and reconnecting with those initial feelings may help unlock your creativity again. It can remind you of the creative goals you had, and how much you’ve already done to achieve them.“
Pick up an old project.
It can be personal or professional, something that you thought might work, but required more thought. Now is perhaps a good time. You may discover you and your thoughts have changed enough to see that project differently. You may find that a sleeping project will help you reconnect – it may help bring a little comfort and realisation that you have been creative for a long time. Dusting off a brain dump, a word cloud, or a collection of roughs, mean that you can already hurdle the most challenging aspect of the creative process – the big idea may already be there, so you can slip back in, and gradually increase your creative speed.
Look after yourself.
It’s important to keep things in perspective, we are experiencing life-changing times, and it is shaking the foundations of many sectors. Our creative world is still there, and through these extraordinary times, will generate new thoughts and huge shifts in the way we think and behave – our creativity will be the skills required to bring traction to the thoughts and ideas that are bubbling within. Above all, maintaining our mental health should be our top priority. And if that means doing nothing, or working on our own space, by all means, allow yourself to.
Freshen-up those creative thoughts.
Explore new ways to nourish your creativity. See this strange time as precious time, and use it well ! Exercise regularly to bring positivity, relaxation and reconnection – plan a walk or run that takes you past places you haven’t seen before – seek out and put yourself in zones that can surprise you – new views and vistas that will help enrich your day. It’s about seeing different things, to see things differently – the fundamental catalyst to help you to start thinking creatively again.
Think through, think further.
If you have reached the plateau, already adjusted to the new normal, then your creativity may already be in a better place. If you are struggling, your creativity can (and will) wait, but your well-being and mental health really cannot. Live with hope, believe in yourself, and be reassured that during these unusual times, it really is okay not to feel okay. Just as those four creative minds struggling to cope under the dark skies of Liverpool brought melody to misery, Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream… Better days will come.