recharging the creative batteries

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Um, this is the state of my studio right now.
This might be part of the reason I've had a lapse in creativity. I can't even cut anything out on my cutting table. I haven't put away all the great supplies I bought in the garment district two weeks ago. I have several half-finished projects waiting for missing elements just sitting there taunting me. Instead of completing them, I've been goofing off with my kids, spending too much time online, and entertaining out-of-town family who were in town for Fathers' Day weekend. I've discovered the addictive nature of creating Etsy treasuries after being included in a few. I stayed up waaaaay too late last night making my first one.

Creativity does tend to ebb and flow, so I'm not too terribly worried, but I'll have to kick start it soon if it doesn't come back on it's own. I found a few links with some decent advice. This article from Zen Habits is about not becoming a workaholic, but I think the suggestions also work for boosting creativity. Working all hours is a great way to zap your creativity. I also like this straightforward article from Digital Art. This post in the Mohr Collaborative blog explores how creativity and insight happen most when our minds wander, yet we spend very little of our days allowing that to happen. The Mohr post also links to this fascinating Wall Street Journal article about the anatomy of the brain's breakthrough moments.

The top 10 ideas I've gleaned for boosting creativity:

- clean workspace- instant boost
- unplug from the internet for at least a day
- take a class- a long term thing, but I can vouch for this one
- play/socialize
- make something other than your usual work for a change
- doodle/always have a notebook handy
- rest- the mind remarkably can solve problems better while wandering
- get out and explore- a great way to find new sources of inspiration
- make time for creative pursuits- don't over schedule yourself (hard, I know!)
- block out self-criticism and negative thoughts- you always think better in a good mood

After reading up on creativity, I don't feel like I'm doing so badly at all. I'm already doing the playing and socializing. I've been out and about exploring. Today I'm going to start a major cleaning and organizing effort in the studio. And next week is the biggie: I will be unplugged from the internet from Monday through Friday and doing nothing but relaxing, sketching in my notebook, and playing. Then when I'm done with all that, I'll make time to be in the studio for blocks of time while the kids attend a camp or two. And right this minute, I'm going to sit on the porch and enjoy my new favorite drink!
An "Arnold Palmer" (part iced tea/part lemonade). Aaaaaahhhh.

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