Trying to be a creative person, on a daily basis, requires a very unique skill set and one that is constantly in need of updating. I discovered this the hard way and will easily admit that I've had more than a few creative meltdowns over the years. Don't laugh. I know it may sound pathetic. How can someone be breaking down over the idea of being paid to travel the world and write about fabulous places, food and fashion? Right? I have such a tough life. But it isn't one that comes without its own set of challenges and they go a little something like this...both challenge and solution offered:
1. Being original.
This is an hourly struggle as an online entity. You are given upwards of seven social channels that require constant content and original thought. Here's what you need to remember - don't look sideways. Every thought you have is original. That's just the way the world works. Sure, it's influenced by everything you see around you, but it's your thought at that moment. No one else is having it right then, just you. Put it out there and let the chips fall where they may.
If you are looking forward in your own creative adventure, you are being original and that's that. Common sense, right? Well, easier said than done. As bloggers I believe we are constantly looking sideways by default, as we are constantly pitted against our peers for jobs and unique work opportunities. It's hard to stay focused, but the greatest advice I was ever given was to concentrate on flexing my own creative muscles on a daily basis and just throwing content out there that I was proud of - that's the only requirement for creation... be proud of what YOU have created.
2. Keep going, no matter what.
This leads me to the most important lesson in accessing any creative side- it's important to keep creating. Even if you feel what you're creating is complete crud, do it. Not everything needs to go out into the general public, but I do believe everything that pops into your head, from a healthy creative place, should be put out into your own physical world, should there be the time to do it. Weeding the good from the bad is just part of the process, but constant creation is essential.
3. Recognize that we're all going to have creative ruts and forgive yourself for those moments immediately.
I firmly believe a creative rut is, in itself, a creative process. When you are forced to be creative daily, you can sometimes feel as if the well has run completely dry. For me, this is a weekly occurrence. And here's how to deal with it. Recognize it. Hell, welcome it. Think of it as a cleanse for your creative soul. Your mind is telling you it's time to shake things up a bit. After you've said all these somewhat ridiculous and comforting things, grab your bag and get out of the house. Go out and let your eyes wander. It's a great big world and no matter where you live, I guarantee you there's a place or side of town you haven't seen. Go there, grab a coffee and a book and watch the world go by. If you are open to inspiration, it will always, ALWAYS, find you. And it has a way of doing so just when you need it the most.
4. BE OPEN.
Of course to be someone who can crawl out of a creative rut (let's keep calling it a creative cleanse, shall we?) you have to be someone who is open to whatever comes your way. Elizabeth Gilbert speaks about this a lot in her book Big Magic, which you absolutely must read if you've gotten this far on a topic of creative living. She talks about the idea of letting yourself be completely open to creativity and what the universe will provide. It's all about knowing yourself and being able to weed through all the creative concepts that come your way. Some you grab hold of and try to bring forth into the universe, others you let go of and give them the opportunity to find another creative soul more suited for the project. However, if you are rigid in your approach to creativity, your creative soul will in fact starve. There's just no way to sugar coat that one, I'm afraid. You have to be ready and willing. If you're "open" to that, the world is your oyster
5. Answer only to yourself.
Of course along the way there will be plenty of critics that pop up to tell you just what they think of your creativity. In this day and age, with ridiculous and jealous trolls lurking about on the internet, nine times out of ten the critics will blow you apart. They'll hate everything you do. They'll hate everything you create. They'll be super "open" about supplying their opinion. And this is the only time you'll hear me say that this is a time in your life where you need to learn to shut it down... compartmentalize and rationalize the crazy general public. The only thing that matters here, and I'm about to sound like a parent, is that you are proud of what you have created. This is the absolute truth. Creative critics are often just critiquing themselves when they share such hateful comments. If all else fails, just remind yourself that if you're attracting such attention, you've more or less been recognized as a creative source worth mentioning at all - and that's a big deal all in itself.
Go forth and let your creative freak flags fly proudly.... so says FFG.
Need more inspiration? Soar over to Mademoiselle Robot to check out her creative advice...