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How to spark creativity during tough times 

Throughout the past few months, many people around the world have struggled with being in forced isolation, which has restricted, and in some cases, eliminated vital parts of our usual life. One aspect of life that has been substantially hit is the creative industry, with many theatres being closed, film sets shuttered and music production being moved to home studios. 

Being creative in such a bleak and dull period in our lives can be horrible, however in times of peril and difficulty, creativity can thrive. Despite the challenges, there are many methods and useful tips to help aid boost your creativity during this time and give you the motivation but also the tools to create something and bring a work of art to life.

During a period where there is an abundance of free time, the external pressure to be productive can actually be inhibiting and make it really hard to be creative. Here are some useful tips to help you get your creative juices going. 

Set aside specific times to create

One thing that can be lacking during any period of lockdown or isolation is routine. Days and weeks can start to merge into one if you allow it, so that’s why it’s important to try and add structure, to break things up. 

Setting aside designated time can help you better manage your overall routine and make yourself feel more fulfilled as a result. Additionally, limiting yourself to this timeframe can also make you more productive and efficient, and reduces the likelihood of burnout happening. 

However, it’s understandable that sometimes you’re just not feeling creative at the designated times. That’s perfectly fine, but it’s still encouraged to work on a project in some way, be it spending time planning it, editing what you already have, researching different sources of inspiration and so on. Even just sitting down and thinking about what you want to do is beneficial as being creative isn’t solely about the time spent actually drawing, painting or writing. 

Don’t force it

When you force yourself to create, you’re most likely going to end up with something that isn’t a good reflection of your skills. Forcing out a creative piece can also increase your levels of stress, which were already on the rise during lockdown, according to this Myprotein survey. That’s why it’s important not to simply thrash it out, and instead wait until the moments that you’re enthusiastic about the project. It’s a good idea to think about creativity and inspiration as a form of energy, where it can’t be created or destroyed, but instead transferred from one place to another. So, instead of trying to force something out of nothing, find some inspiration that gets you excited and transform that excitement into your own form of creativity. 

For example, if you’re a writer, think about a book or a story that really gets you going. It may be a completely different genre than what you’re interested in working in, however by drawing on what’s exciting you and borrowing elements from it; it’ll help you gain enthusiasm to get started and may even spark some ideas that you hadn’t consider before. 

Indulge in inspiration 

It’s important not to mix up inspiration and distraction. To create, and to create well, it’s clear that you need to engage in the medium you’re working in to get inspired, however, what you don’t want to do is get distracted and too preoccupied by gathering inspiration, to the point where it affects your ability to produce your own work. 

The best way to do this is to simply read a new book, or watch a new documentary or do something every time you hit a wall, as this activity can spark something in you and give you the encouragement to carry on.

There’s plenty of other things you can do as well to give you a boost in inspiration. You can speak to other creatives to get their input in your work or to hear about the tactics they’ve put in place to stay creative; try a new hobby and engage with things that you wouldn’t normally do, such as a different music genre or type of filmmaking. 

After doing this, you’ll learn how amazing our brain is and how it has the ability to pull creativity out of anywhere; you just need to keep it from being starved. 

Work in a different creative medium

Variety is the spice of life, so if you find yourself struggling in the same creative rut, then it might be worth branching out and trying something really different. You can treat this as a creative warm-up as it might be just what you need to get your brain engaged and create some motivation. Don’t censor yourself too much when trying new things either. As it’s not a medium you’ve worked with much before, you’re allowed to suck during the first few times you try something new. This can be really beneficial and can awaken something within you and perhaps encourage you to pursue this new medium more regularly. 

When doing this, put in as much effort as you would your main protect. Really take the time to learn the techniques and processes you need to know to do a good job in whatever you’re doing, as this new knowledge may inform a new creative direction. Some good alternative activities include photography – particularly nature – clay sculpture, poetry, knitting and even acting. 

Collaborate

When it’s getting tough to create by yourself, inviting others to work on projects together can help inject new life into the task at hand. Multiple minds have the opportunity to offer up fresh ideas and interesting takes, meaning that the project can turn into something exciting and something you wouldn’t have considered yourself. 

Obtaining and even giving feedback and criticism is also a form of collaboration that can really help, as it can provide the kickstart and drive you need to work on your project. However, before you do this, just make sure that you know how to take and receive criticism as being too harsh may put people off, and being too attached to your work may also cause upset if you don’t get the response you were looking for. 

Collaborative working can also help you realize that creativity is different for everyone, so spend the time to allow yourself to find it, and eventually it will come. 


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