Creativity is essential for well-being and successful academic writing.
Taking time to be creative fuels my muse. I find that painting helps me be more reflective, and makes me a better observer– both important research skills. As Einstein said (1929): “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
Art journaling is my DIY therapy!
When I fill my journal with watercolor paintings I am not trying to impress anyone (or sell my artwork.) I immerse myself in the colors and feelings of the places I visit and visually record my observations. It is fun to look back at past journals and recall travels and experiences in a very different way than is possible with photographs.
I’ve also found that this kind of reflective activity ties into my professional work as a qualitative methodologist and research community manager. Here are three SAGE Methodspace blog posts about creativity, research, and academic writing:
Visual Journaling for Research: Not all visual research communication aims to reach others. Sometimes we use visuals for our own purposes, including drawing, sketching, painting, collaging, or otherwise illustrating a research journal.
Academic Writing with Pen in Hand: I confess, I am a fountain pen fanatic. In this post I’ll speak from experience, and draw on some research as well.
Focusing: The Muse and the Mundane: Oddly, my muse seems to visit when I am taking a walk, or a shower. Sometimes I fall asleep while wrestling with questions and wake up with a clear sense of what I want to write.