How to Not Force Creativity
Category : Arts
In anything where there is creativity involved, we can sometimes feel stressed or forced to ‘produce’. This can be painting, writing, even producing results at work where there is a creative aspect to your job, such as in advertising or marketing. I may not have all the answers, but I’ve got a few ideas for you which I have personally found very effective and have worked well for me in a few areas.
Not to force creativity
1. Change your mindset
Rather than forcing the issue or saying you ‘will produce now’ instead tell yourself you’re going to make a start on something. Say you’re going to ‘have a play’ and take a more relaxed approach to what you’re wanting to do. Telling yourself “I have to get this done!” is just laying the pressure on yourself. If your mindset is not “I have to …” then you’re more likely to be able to produce. For me, especially writing, I write best early in the morning (around sunrise) as it’s peaceful, I feel fresh and I have the time. The creativity flows because I know I don’t have to do it. Absolutely stop telling yourself things like “I have no creative ideas at the moment” or “I’m really not in the mood” as the mind is very powerful. Tell yourself this enough times and you’ll be stuck in that rut for a very long time. A positive attitude will take you a long way.
2. Select your time / Set your time
Ok, if you are, say, a graphic artist and it’s your job – this might not be an option for you. However, if you’re an artist or your creative endeavour is part-time or a little more flexible, then pick your time to be creative. It might not be when ‘the juices are flowing’ but don’t do it when you’ve got to go to a meeting in an hour, or you’re feeling stressed or you are tired. Believe it or not, some artists are structured – so if that is you – perhaps even schedule a time to paint – even putting it in your diary or schedule.
The second side of this is actually making time to be creative. Not having time is a big part of what can stop you producing. I myself am also a writer, although my core business is business coaching. Last year was a super busy year for me as a coach – so my art business, as a consequence, suffered. I was aware of that and chose to focus on my clients, but I still kept the writing going. I made time for that, scheduled it in and it happened through a little discipline. And on that, a little discipline doesn’t go astray. Warming up to paint might be better use of your time than watching your favourite program on the TV.
3. Set the mood
Mood setting isn’t reserved just for romance. I’ve said this a few times, whether it’s art, painting or writing; creating the atmosphere is half the battle (in my view). My go-to when writing is putting on some music, lighting a scented candle and selecting a spot I feel relaxed and at peace. In many ways, these rituals are telling our brain ‘it’s time’ without pressure but rather with pleasure. Art and creativity should be something to look forward to … not something which is a chore or dreaded.
4. Remove interruptions
If it’s helps – remove the distractions. Close the door, or perhaps turn off the phone. Remove other distractions too like TVs or the refrigerator (make sure it’s not close to having a meal). If people at your door is a problem, why not create a sign “Creativity at Work – please come back later” (or leave a message on my phone # XXXX).
5. Start with playing / warming up
If the creative juices need a bit of a kick start, start with just some play on something separate. It may be a drawing or just ‘mucking around’ with some colour or techniques on a test canvas. Singers warm up their vocal cords … why not warm up your painting hand? Just watch that the warm-up doesn’t become a distraction itself.
So, rather than ‘forcing’ yourself or making it happen NOW … encourage and entice the creative side to come out. Sometimes it’s as simple as making a start.
Yours in art – Donna