How to Get Your Creative Mojo Flowing
If life hands you lemons, kick it in the stomach until it hands over the diamonds hidden in the mattress. Get your creative spirit back on track.
It’s very fashionable to say creativity begins with a blank page. It doesn’t. It begins with your head.
Artist, writer, filmmaker, columnist for Poultry Fancier’s monthly; whatever you do, sometimes your creative groove hits a block. Anything from low self-esteem to full-on tragedy can throw glue into your mental cogs and turn the next J.K. Rowling into the next McDonald’s employee of the month. Here are five reminders for anyone experiencing soul-crushing creative apathy, in the hope that I never see your face on a milk carton or Crimewatch.
Don’t watch or read the news.
If the world ends, you will probably find out one way or another, when the skies turn to ash or the office staff stop answering your calls. The bad-news carousel is designed to simultaneously drain and infuriate you, in case you were feeling like doing something positive or were just being happy for no reason. If you have to use the news for anything, use it as a springboard for social revolution or the starting point for your next short story. Otherwise, turn it off.
If you can ignore the inevitable 80’s mental image this word conjures up of some pin-striped git saying ‘Yah, Yah, it’s a totally win-win scenario’ into a huge proto-mobile, then it’s a good idea to make a big creative mess on paper to find out where your subconscious priorities are. I start with a little circle in the middle where I am (depressed, pitiful, starting to smell) and create links, no matter how crazy they are (join a cult, start a cult) to where I think I want to be. The process usually reveals some new aspect of my creative plan I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. Even if it’s the kind of idea that could end with incarceration in a soft room, at least my brain is going interesting hypothetical places, and that’s the mental drop-kick I need to start creating again.
Let your soul breathe.
Dramatic as it sounds, your creative soul can sicken and suffocate through lack of its own oxygen. Regularly feeding and encouraging your potential through the little things your soul adores is one of the most important acts of self-care you can imagine. Buying flowers for yourself, painting useless tiny pictures, singing, dancing, rambling through woodland, cooking a really fine meal from scratch, long baths with essential oil and candles, paintballing, swimming in the sea, taking a night class on Persian pottery. Whatever it is, loosen the collar on your spirit and let it inhale the little things it loves.
Drop the cannon ball of other people’s expectations.
‘But if I run away with the circus my family will disown me and Barclays might suspend my current account.’
I’m not suggesting you go the full Gauguin and swank off to Tahiti to paint nude ladies (although by all means, go and do that), but worrying that others, especially those closest to you, will disapprove of your choices, (you want to be a what?), is one of the most major stumbling blocks to going ahead and achieving what you want. Ultimately, their opinions really have nothing to do with you and it is not your life they’re living.
Look at something completely pants that got made or published anyway.
Twilight. 50 Shades. Spiderman 3. Batman & Robin. Anything by Dan Brown. Any of the ‘Dark Fantasy’ books currently exploding on the shelves with clone cut-out vampire or werewolf protagonists. Twilight. Guys, you can do better than this.
We love you Dr. Seuss.
When life hands you lemons, kick it in the stomach until it hands over the diamonds hidden in the mattress.
As much as I usually want to slow-roast your average self-help writer over a barbeque, it’s true that having things happen to you is a matter of experience, but choosing how you deal with them is a matter of choice. Life is rarely smooth, even for the people who look like it’s going their way. There is nothing feel-good about seeing yourself as a languishing victim of your circumstance, but people who bloodied the nose of their circumstance after it spilled their pint have given us a whole lot of creative role models. So, the Universe took a collective crap on your head, but using it to your advantage turns the tables and makes you the victor. No one who let their life story get in the way of their life’s purpose made the best-seller list. Harsh? Probably… But true.
Unleashing your creativity is okay. Even if you get like this.