Find Your Creativity!

There are a million articles floating around about how to find your creativity, or how to rediscover it if it’s been buried for too long.

Being creative doesn’t necessarily mean you can draw or paint. There are so many ways to express that side of yourself. You might be more musical, you might like to garden. Are you a writer? What about home decorating? Or, is fashion your thing? (It’s not my thing…I’m hopeless when it comes to dressing myself)

Truly, there are too many creative outlets to list. But being creative or the act of attempting to create is one of my life’s greatest joys. I’d like to share a few things I do to become more creative.

Spend some time alone.

Solitude is such a needed thing for me to really get in touch with that part of my brain. I can quietly observe the world around me. It helps me focus and take notice of things in my surroundings that strike me as noteworthy.

Give self-assignments.

Sometimes when we go on vacations I will limit myself as to what camera gear I will bring. On a trip to the Grand Tetons one year, I only allowed myself to shoot Polaroids. I have a collection of old Polaroid cameras that I love to use. The photos from that trip have such a different feel to them…a real era-gone-by vibe. I love them.

I sometimes give myself daily creative writing assignments. This is such fun and it’s a great way to become more creative! A friend and I even did an exchange for a while where we wrote a stream-of-consciousness-type email to each other each night at the end of the day. We were to just write, without stopping, for five minutes. No editing, just typing and then click send. We called it The Daily Download. I don’t think I’ve ever felt closer to her and the emails serve as a type of journal from that time.

I have participated in one of those year long word prompt photo-of-the-day challenges. That was fun for a while too, even though I only lasted till April.

All of these things stretched me and forced me to engage in new ways.

Immerse yourself in art.

Read a book for pleasure, go to a museum, walk around a public garden, watch a great movie. I’m not suggesting you copy ideas from other artists. Quite the opposite, actually. If you are a portrait photographer, I think the absolute worst thing you can do is look at how everyone else is posing brides or babies. Instead, look at magazines or paintings. The more beauty you fill your mind with, the more beauty will come out.

Do something.

Anything. Just begin.

Write in a journal, paint a rock, sign up for a class, try cooking a new recipe. One of my favorite all time quotes is by Pablo Picasso. He said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” Isn’t that the way of things? We can’t simply demand that creative inspiration come to us while we sit on the sidelines (or the couch), but if we get our hands dirty and just start something, maybe then lightning will strike. For me it’s sometimes been in the form of a happy accident. A project gone wrong, that turns out better than what I had planned. Or sometimes just getting into the act of writing a story opens the floodgates and ideas begin to flow freely. Sometimes when I make jewelry, I have to hold the materials I am working with, turn them over in my hands a bit and ponder what I’m going to do with them. You must first engage. It’s as simple as that. Just do something.

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working. ~Pablo Picasso

All people have the capacity to create. We are all creative as children. Somewhere along the way some people convince themselves that they aren’t creative. That is simply not true. Everyone has that side to themselves. Some people cultivate it and exercise it more, but we all have it. I truly believe that creativity, and the expression of it, is one of the best things about being alive. If you don’t have an outlet for yours, spend an hour this weekend in a bookstore in the magazine section and see all of the publications dedicated to hobbies. Anything that piques your interest is worth exploring. If you fancy yourself a creative person already, maybe try a new medium. Give yourself an assignment and push your boundaries.

Share your creations! I’d love to know what you’re up to.

Originally published at on April 14, 2015.