the winter blog

Creativity: 15 Powerful Ways to Harness the Beast

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.

Ray Bradbury

Hello, Human Beans! I’m going to be honest, creativity is low these days. You see, I have a lot of tough stuff going on in life and sometimes all of your creative energy goes into just trying to figure out how to survive. That’s where I am. Thing is, I’m trying to learn to harness my creativity so that it’s not so fleeting.

I’ve documented, quite extensively, my battle with writer’s block. I’ve finally caught a plan of attack to get my creative juices flowing and, most of the time, I can get myself into that zone. Granted, not always. Sometimes the ADHD or the depression get their way; the boredom eats at me and I take to the bed. Most days, though, I really feel like I’ve got this creative thing down.

Today, I want to share with you some of the ways that I get my creative juices flowing and get myself into the head space to create, whether it be writing, art journaling, or thinking up new ideas.

Harnessing Your Creativity

Just to preface, this list is made up of some of the techniques that I use when I’m not feeling the creativity vibe. Some of them may not work for you. But the key is find your specific creativity triggers. What gets your blood pumping and gets you excited? What inspires you?

  1. Create yourself a creative space. I understand that not everyone has tons of space to create new spaces in their homes. But find a corner somewhere and make it your own. Fill it with your favorite things; the stuff that makes you feel. Having a designated creative space can really get into create mode.
  2. Get a change of scenery or change your schedule. On the flip side of the creative space coin, you can try writing in a new space. Sometimes our creative spaces start to feel too comfortable or your family is bustling about and you can’t get a moment’s peace. Try painting outside when the weather is nice or posting up at a coffee shop for a couple of hours with your laptop. Alternatively, try creating a new schedule. If you always create in the morning, see what happens at midnight.
  3. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to let your mind wander. When I say wander, I mean really let it go. Sit by yourself, turn some relaxing music on, and don’t put any constraints on your train of thought. Not only will you get to know yourself better, but it will help your brain to make creative connections that you might not have otherwise thought of. A good daydream is where it’s at, as far as creativity goes.
  4. Create a playlist that moves you. Some people have a hard time creating with music and some people can’t create without it. I find that the right music can get me in just the head space I need. I generally create from my emotions and music evokes that in me, without fail. So pull out your preferred music app and build a list that makes your heart sing and gets your wheels spinning.
  5. Find inspiration online. There are so many places online to find creative inspiration. Create a Pinterest board full of images that inspire you, read blogs about everything under the sun, peruse poetry, prose, and photography. You’ll be surprised at the ideas that you come up with, simply by looking at other people’s art.
  6. Keep an “idea” folder/file/notebook. I generally use a notebook for this, but that’s because I’m an analog girl at heart. That said, there are a number of amazing apps and programs that can help you do this. Just make sure you have something to record when inspiration strikes!
  7. Use hyperfocus periods to your advantage. The truth is, creativity is fleeting. It comes and it goes. For someone with ADHD, that is even moreso. So when hyperfocus comes on, use it! When I get hyperfocused on writing, I write 5 articles instead of one or I add 6,000 words to my WIP in a weekend. I’ve seen hyperfocus painted as a “bad” trait, but I don’t think that’s true. Hyperfocus is not only when I’m at my happiest, but also the only way I ever get anything done!
  8. Be contantly learning and inquisitive. You will glean inspiration from the learning process. An inquistive mind is also a creative mind. Keep growing, keep learning, and always be ready for inspiration to strike.
  9. Don’t censor your ideas. Don’t worry if it’s good enough. Don’t worry if people will like it. Just worry about how it makes you feel. If you have an idea, run with it. Censorship is a creativity killer. Don’t do this to yourself.
  10. Consume other’s art and works. I cannot stress this enough. Some of my best ideas have come while reading other people’s blogs or books. When I do art, I always go out to Pinterest for inspiration beforehand. Don’t steal ideas from other people, but let their creativity fuel your own.
  11. Free-write. Stream of consciousness writing is a great way to get your creative juices flowing. Not only will it force you to create something (even if it’s of no consequence), but it will help you rattle out whatever it is that might be blocking you. Get out a piece of paper and pen and just start writing the first thought that is in your head and see where it takes you.
  12. Have a brainstorm. You can brainstorm by yourself or with a partner, but let your ideas flow. Write them all down so you don’t forget them. Call up a pal and tell them where you’re stuck; see if they have any ideas that might help you get started.
  13. Create a mind-map. Mind-mapping is one of my favorite ways to get started when I’m feeling stuck. Especially if the “stuck” feeling is being caused by overwhelm of ideas or responsibilities, which is often is. Mind-mapping is the perfect way to visually organize your thoughts and ideas.
  14. Experiment with new mediums. If you’re a writer, paint. If you’re a painter, write. If you normally paint with acrylics, switch to watercolors for a night. Sometimes when we’re stuck in our chosen medium, it helps to change it up and try something new.
  15. Let it be bad!! There is no rule that says your creativity has to produce something groundbreaking. Allow yourself to make bad art. Allow yourself to write poorly. You can go back later and fix it or change it. Or not. You may decide to scrap it. Just stop being preoccupied with perfection.

Not all of these will work for everyone, but it will give you a good place to start. Having creative block can be frustrating and maddening. Make sure to be easy on yourself. Not every day can be a day full of creativity. Sometimes you’re tired, grumpy, or just not into it. I’m here today to tell you that that is okay! You’ll try again some other day. Just be kind to you.

As creative beings, we often feel a deep *need* to create. There is nothing worse than feeling this need and knowing that you can’t fill it. Play around with the ideas above, but also be on the look out for your own. What inspires you? What moves you? What makes you angry? What makes you feel passionate? Those are the things that you want to look for.

Whatever your particular creative poison is, I highly suggest starting a multimedia art journal. It is a great way to create with literally no rules. You use whatever materials you can find; paint, markers, magazine clippings, pens and pencils, ribbon, book pages, business cards. The possibilities are endless. You can practice new techniques or teach yourself how to draw. It’s all private and just for you. This will always give you a good place to go to get your juices flowing.

Good luck and happy creating, Human Beans!

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Love and light. Keep fighting the good fight! 

ADHD Beans

Still depressed, anxious, and traumatized. Still an ADHDer. Still kicking ass and taking names when it comes to busting stigma. Changing hearts and minds, one post at a time.

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