From the time I can remember, I have loved to create. As a young child, creativity came so easily, I simply put pen to paper and the words flowed out as if a stream coming directly from my mind. Nowadays, the time I have to translate my thoughts into a more coherent form has been stripped down to the bare minimum, and instead, I spend most of my time using my brain to fill out worksheets, take notes, and study for upcoming tests. It’s not uncommon that I hit what I call a “creative wall”. The more time I spend away from doing the things I love, the harder it becomes to do them.
If I look at things from a more realistic perspective, it makes sense that my ideas aren’t as crisp as they once were. Coming up with something magical on the spot cannot happen and instead, I’m forced to rely on a process that allows me to draw inspiration from daily life and create something that I personally, can be quite satisfied with. Everyone has a different creative process, and whether or not you even like to create, it’s likely that you have hit this metaphorical “wall” at some point in your life. When it comes to this point, looking deeper within yourself and moving through the daily motions of life, can sometimes be your largest source of inspiration.
So, without further ado, here is my creative process that I am continually cycling through to scratch that itch to create:
Step One: Drawing Inspiration
Often times, this is considered the most difficult step of the entire process. It’s at this point, when the cycle is starting again and nothing seems intersting or worthwhile enough. The thing is, my brain is constantly moving and throughout the day, I have various, random thoughts. What may seem inconsequential to most, to me, can become a key factor in an art piece, song, blog post, or poem. Personally, I like to keep a small notebook with me whenever I can. It’s in this notebook that I keep all my money, cards and the stray ideas I have, remembering that no idea is a bad one. Sure, most of the ideas in my notebooks will be left untouched, but still, you never know what can spark inspiration. In addition, being able to create on-the-go is vital for me to get my brain working. If I can, I try to take with me what I like to think of as my “creative toolbox” as well. This toolbox is made up of a backpack in which I store some of my essential tools…a sketchbook, pens, good music, my journal, and dark chocolate. Ultimately, these small habits allow me to create larger projects that I can be proud of, whether I choose to keep them private or share them with the world.
Step Two: The Mindset
As I mentioned, creativity is a very individual process. It is extremely dependent on my mood, atmosphere, and what’s going on in my life at the time. In addition to personal pressures, comparison to others can often bog me down and make me feel like whatever I create will “never be good enough”. Self doubt can be a terrifying monster and may lead to long periods of discouragement. Nonetheless, when I am in the right mindset to create, it seems as though nothing can stop me. I become restless, and it feels like I have to drop whatever I am doing to carry out my idea. The right mindset starts by knowing yourself. For example, I know what inspires me. I love to listen to music and watch other people creating, alongside some of my favorite films. These outlets are like charging stations to my creativity. When I finally catch a wave of inspiration, the next step is to set the right atmosphere. Comfy clothes, direct sunlight, a warm drink, (more) music, and maybe even dancing around my room forms the perfect atmosphere for me to let loose and produce a work of art.
Step Three: Creating
Finally, we’ve made it. At this point in the process, I usually feel motivated and euphoric, ready to create. Creating starts from nothing, and suddenly, it has crescendoed into something that sends a flood of endorphins right to my brain. To me, it is a way of expressing my thoughts and emotions to a world that can often seem foreign. While some of the things I create will never be understood by anyone but myself, creating helps to give my mind some relief. It allows for people to understand me a bit better, and hopefully, brings them inspiration for when they begin their own creative process.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.” -Maya Angelou