3 Ways to Get the Creative Juices Flowing

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It’s been some time since I’ve written an article for anewscafe.com. I had a crazybusy wedding season this year (and if crazybusy isn’t a real word, it should be!) My “real work” has to come first and even though I love writing, the ideas haven’t exactly been rushing to me.

Writer’s block, stagnation, apathy; whatever you want to call it, anyone who works in a creative career has experienced it.

I thought I would share some of my ideas to remove that block and at the same time, get my own ideas flowing again.

1. Make a list
Sometime earlier this year I actually made a list of ideas for my writing and guess what…this theme was one of them! So making a list is helpful. Do it when you are feeling especially creative but just can’t find the time to implement your ideas.

This can work for all forms of creative media. I like to draw as well, and I always have a mental list of ideas for drawings. I should probably write those ideas down, too, so they are readily available when I am experiencing artist’s block.

Making a list can help in other ways. Sometimes, when looking back on an idea, it may not seem like a good one, so don’t be afraid to eliminate those.

2. Look at what other creative people are doing
Whether I need ideas for a fashion or tailoring article, a drawing, or drapes for my living room, it helps to see what others are doing. When I was in school, I found students were very good at inspiring each other. I don’t mean copying someone’s ideas but they can jar our own creative flow. This is especially true in the fashion world.

For instance, one of my favorite designers, Georgio Armani, inspired many other designers around the world to make their own version of a woman’s suit. They probably don’t look anything like Armani’s (or at least they shouldn’t) but a designer will take their own fabrics and colors and create their own cuts.

In art classes, one assignment may be exactly the same for each student: make a drawing using two contrasting colors and five lines. It’s amazing how many different variations of that idea will be created from one simple instruction, so don’t be afraid to see what your peers are doing. Use them for inspiration.

3. Think outside your box
This is probably the most important way to stimulate your creativity. We wake up in our comfy little houses (box #1), get into our cars (box #2) and probably take the same route to work.  We spend the day at work (box #3) looking at a computer screen (box # 4). After work, we may stop at the grocery store (big box #1) and then spend the evening watching TV(another big box).
Taking a different route to work and back will enable our eyes to  see different sights, our ears to hear different sounds. Trying a new restaurant can stimulate our senses of smell and taste.  I’m a big on-line shopper but even going into an actual brick and mortar store can stimulate the senses in  different ways. Touching fabrics. Smelling a new perfume. Seeing the latest in fashion colors.

And if time and budget allow, get out of town! There’s nothing like getting out of familiar environments to give us a fresh perspective on our lives. I remember the last time I stood on top of Shasta Bally and looked down on Redding and thinking my “box” was way down in the valley and it seemed so small and insignificant, much like the problems I was facing at the time.

And when I came down from the mountain, I felt brand new and ready to face my problems with a clear mind.

Vincent Van Gogh once said, “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

Those are words of wisdom from an artist who never sold a painting in his lifetime, someone I’m sure experienced blocks like we all do.

Barbara Stone
Barbara Stone is the owner of Barbara Stone Designs, a full-service tailoring and dressmaking business at 5200 Churn Creek Road, Suite P, Redding, CA, 96002. She can be reached at (530) 222-1340 or bstonedesigns@sbcglobal.net.
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4 Responses

  1. Yes – getting outside works for me — I consider time in the great outdoors a crucial part of my songwriting routine. Welcome back!

  2. A. Jacoby A. Jacoby says:

    Good points for all of us . . . creative or not, it’s good life-advice.

  3. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Barbara, wonderful article.  I grew up in a canyon with no TV and one monthly magazine and a once a week newspaper.  I loved art and sewing and fiber arts but I was convinced that I was not creative.  Now that I’m many years older I realize that what I think of as creativity now depends on experience and exposure to lots of  ideas and seeing other people’s work and “getting out of Dodge” on occasion.  This is a great list for getting “creative juices flowing.”