Staying in the Creative Zone
Updated: Mar 18
How long have we been stuck at home now? Well, since our hair is now "Rapunzel's Escape Ladder" inches long, it's probably safe to say we've been out of society for quite some time. At the beginning of the pandemic and its associated lifestyle changes, many of us secretly cheered at the thought of having a Work At Home directive thrust upon us, imagining that we'd finally have time to complete the myriad creative projects that seem always to be swirling in our heads. Alas, reality has not been so kind. Sure, we finished a few works underway, turned our hands to a few new creative outlets like baking and sewing, and daydreamed about a few new projects that can't be launched until there's a vaccine, but five months into this "new normal," listlessness is setting in. Maybe you're an artist who can't hold an art show or sell your crafts at a fair. Maybe you're an event planner with no events to organize and no firm date on the horizon to look forward to celebrating again. Maybe you're simply a writer whose words have slowed to a trickle and the sameness of every day makes you despair that you'll ever conceive another original thought. What's a creative person to do when all of her go-to sources of inspiration are prohibited? Two options: create new sources, and recreate old sources. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: RECREATE CUSTOMARY SOURCES OF INSPIRATION
If you find inspiration through travel » Visit the world virtually
If you find inspiration at museums » Visit museums online
If you find inspiration through live theater » Enjoy theatrical productions online
If you find inspiration through music » Enjoy online concerts by your favorite musicians
If you find inspiration by conversing with clever friends » Host a virtual dinner party based on a provocative discussion topic (Try: "How does the absence of art affect people?")
CREATE NEW SOURCES OF INSPIRATION
Immerse yourself in nature. Take full advantage of the good weather while it lasts. Go for walks in the woods, sit in your yard and listen to the birds, lie on the grass and watch the clouds. Remember how you could entertain yourself as a child with nothing but what you found on the ground? Try that again.
Stretch outside your comfort zone. Ask a family member to show you how to participate in something that they love, but you haven't previously tried -- perhaps a new game, like chess, or an outdoor activity, like fencing with foam swords. As you immerse yourself in something new, preferably something that makes you laugh and forms a bond with someone you love, you'll shake your brain cells awake and they'll start to generate new ideas on their own. Don't have someone nearby who can share a new skill with you? Try a fun online course.
Teach someone to do what you love. Conversely, when you show someone else the best parts of the field that brings you joy, the process will shine a new light on the familiar pursuit that you may take for granted. Pointing out the highlights and sharing the thrills of your specialty will make the commonplace seem fresh again, and reinvigorate your interest in the subject. Suddenly, you'll be hatching new ideas again.
Go back to the beginning. What inspired you when you first started out in your field? Dig up the old Girl Scout handbook that sparked your interest in camping that turned into outdoor Live Action Role Playing. Find your grandmother's Betty Crocker cookbook, the one with the recipe for the first zucchini bread you ever made. Excavate your very first set of Magic the Gathering cards (or buy them again on Ebay) and sit on the floor remembering how it felt to play it for the first time with your brothers. When you surround yourself with the memories of the items that inspired your first creative spark, the ghost of that spark will return, and all you'll need to do is nurture a bit and it will happily flame again.