Many of us have more time on our hands right now, and many of us may also be looking for an outlet for pent up stress: Enter creative expression.
Whether you want to pursue a creative art professionally or recreationally, now may be the perfect time to give it a go. If you’re feeling a bit stuck or unsure where to start, these tips can help you find your muse and start creating – whatever form that may take.
“While there is no magic universal recipe to spark creativity, there are some accessible things we can do to help set the mood, so to speak,” says Kayce Laine, CCH and Reiki practitioner, who got into energy healing as a way to overcome a personal creative block she was facing in song writing.
For her, creativity is interconnected with mindfulness, and achieving one can help achieve the other.
“With a quiet body and quiet mind, your brain is able to tune in and listen for inspirations from within,” she says.
Here are Laine’s tips for cultivating creativity.
“The biggest disruptor to creative flow is distraction, so creating a physical space for your mind and body to quiet down without a phone or computer around is something I always recommend,” she says. If you need to use electronics to do your creative work, for example if you are a digital artist, Laine recommends turning off your notifications and only opening the applications that you need for your art.
Designate an area for creating
“Whether you are able to designate an entire room, or just a corner of a room, it’s helpful to have an area of your home that feels inspiring that makes you excited to be there.”
Stress and creativity don’t mix, Laine says, so meditation can help. Find a comfortable, quiet place and take some slow, deep breaths, she says. “Tell yourself that you are just going to sit still and receive any images, words or feelings that arise for as long (or as short) as you want. Keep a journal and pen nearby to write down anything that you find significant.”
Put creativity in your calendar
“It may seem counterintuitive to try to plan for creativity, but for those of us with packed schedules, it’s easy to put time for creating off for more ‘important’ things. While sometimes creativity does come on a whim, it often takes time and space to get your mind into a receptive state.”
If you schedule time for creativity, Laine suggests keeping it general: Don’t pencil in “write a song” but rather “play piano” – something less intimidating and more open-ended.
Invest in your tools
“If you’re a painter, for example, it’s worth it to invest in nice brushes, paints, and canvases to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. If you’re a writer, get pens that you enjoy using in colours that make you feel inspired. If you’re a dancer, get clothes that make you feel good and comfortable for the movement you want to do. If you’re a cook, get utensils, pots, and pans that give you the most flexibility in the kitchen.”
Get into nature
“You have to fill your inspiration cup up to create and going outside is an easy and free way to do that.”
Create for yourself, no one else!
“It’s important to keep in mind that the point of a creative endeavour is to let go and release stress and energy that has been built up from the more tedious aspects of life. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself!” Laine says. “We live in a time where everything we do is supposed to have a purpose. A reason. A result. Let go of that requirement and create for creation’s sake! Remind yourself that it doesn’t matter if anyone sees/hears/experiences what you’re creating – not everything needs to be a masterpiece.”
If you’re looking for a creative outlet but aren’t sure where to start or what to do, here are some ideas from Vindy Teja, a professional life and divorce coach, TEDx speaker and author.
- Write a short story, play, poem or song; do a parody of an existing one
- Sketch, paint, design or sew something
- Make a scrapbook of your last family vacation
- Cook something new or do a seasonal twist on a favourite dish
- Decorate your room
- Choreograph and do a dance routine to a favourite song
- Build something from existing materials you find at home
- Take a course or workshop, or watch a YouTube video or TED Talk on anything you’d like to know more about.
For anyone looking to commit more seriously to a creative pursuit, Laine suggests checking out the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – particularly if you are feeling creatively blocked.
“I have been doing the morning journaling exercises for over five years now and it’s helped me uncover many personal breakthroughs.”