Regardless of our individual vehicles for creative expression, whether we use pens, brushes, musical instruments, or even our bodies, there are a few things that we can do to inspire inspiration, so to speak, to show up more reliably and consistently.
Here are 10 tips for being more consistently creative:
- Set time aside: If you do not schedule time each day to do your creative work, it will get pushed to the back burner and you may never get to it.
- Make it routine: Do your creative work at the same time every day, in the same space, with the same lighting, the same or similar music (or silence), etc. so that your creative mind begins to recognize this time and this environment as where it is free to do its best work.
- Break up your routine: Once you find a routine that you can stick to, one that works for you, break it up a little bit from time to time to see how different environments affect your creative process.
- Visit new places: Travel, even to the next town over, is a great way to inspire new creative ideas, especially if these places have a vibrant, thriving art, music, or cafe culture, but even the most mundane new experiences can become inspiration for creativity if we are open to what they have to offer.
- Hang out where creativity is happening or has happened: Creative spaces inspire creativity, so seek out places where people are making art, music, dancing, etc., or go where people have done these things in the past, or where creative work is on display, such as museums, galleries, etc.
- Associate with creative people: If it is indeed true that we are the average of the people with whom we most often associate, it stands to reason that, if we want to be more creative, we should associate more frequently with people who are also doing creative work.
- Let your environment inspire you: When you feel creatively stuck, simply look around, observe what is happening around you, find inspiration in your everyday life, and think about how you can reinterpret or express what you see, hear, feel, smell, or taste in a new, unique way.
- Scratch your own itch: Make art that you like, that inspires you, that you wish was in the world for you because this guarantees that you have an audience, at least an audience of one.
- Just let it out: Start writing, start painting, start playing, start moving, but start, and don’t judge your work until it’s done, and even then, don’t judge it —simply make something else.
- It doesn’t have to be a lot, but it has to be consistent: More is not better —better is better —but the way to get better is to be consistent, and that may mean doing more until your work gets better.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as a founding member of the Severna Park and Baltimore Holistic Chamber of Commerce.
Artwork by Ana, except where otherwise noted.
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