by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
I have more blogs and podcasts that cover this topic from different perspectives under my Creativity, and Inspiration sections, so check those out! I also learn about the creative process from the creators and positivity experts I interview for YourCreativeChord Podcast.
I sometimes use my ‘Creative Exploration Formula’ (see above image) for jumpstarting a creative project. This is a way for creators to get in the creative zone, minus the negative inner critic, to start a new project or continue one. It’s a step by step process, but as creators, we know that rules are for breaking.
So change it, break it, throw any part of it out the window if the muse has landed with you.
GET INSIDE YOUR BOX!
Start by setting limitations or parameters for yourself, or by placing yourself within a structure. This gives you a clear box where you’ll set yourself to work on creating something new. The idea of limits may already be set for you if it’s a professional task you must complete.
Remember that limits are a good way for sparking fresh ideas that wouldn’t normally flow if everything were wide open or willy-nilly, anything goes.
Limits force you to think. Thinking within limitations pushes you to find a new way to do something. Being in a particular box is good in this sense.
If you get blocked creatively, find a way to break open that box.
LET GO OF YOUR HEAD!
Before you begin creating something, you must mindfully let go of your head, whatever mood you’re in, any expectations, and check your ego at the door. None of these are welcome in the creative process. They are the uninvited. Let them go.
The point is to not care about your results. Yet.
MAKE IT STUPID.
During some creative sessions, I’ve set myself the goal of writing the worst possible song I’ve ever composed. I purposely strike the attitude that I do not care about the result. I strive to make it stupid. Ignore all the rules or protocol.
I do that to forcefully eject any expectations or inner critic from my inner space. Ninety percent of the time that I use this strategy, my creative results blow me away with positive ideas I would never expect to emerge.
Getting rid of that inner critic is a super powerful way to get creative juices pumping!
TUNE IN TO YOUR INNER COMPASS.
I silence myself to tune into what I believe in or care about. I hone in on my powerful feelings or beliefs. I let everything be guided by that inner compass. It is authentic and mystic.
It’s both my higher power and my deepest desires, dreams, wants (or sometimes, pain), or passion. I allow that place to fill my silence with truth, no matter what it feels or looks or sounds like. I let the creative voice flow.
If I hear negativity creep in, I start again from the top:
I tap into my heart with an open, pure curiosity to learn and be led.
I allow my curiosity to explore, brainstorm, try anything and anything. I allow myself to be okay with whatever happens. I go deep into this process, ignoring all rules or outer ‘voices.’
I pretend that everything is an experiment. Because it is.
ENVISION WITH GREAT ATTENTION
Sometimes, I spend time visualizing. I envision the mood, color, sound, story, setting that I intend to express. I practice deeply feeling these, through each nuance, change, or detail, and through each of my senses.
I allow for failure. I invite failure. In the words of L.A. Composer, Kristen Baum, who I recently featured on YourCreativeChord podcast, "Failure tells you as much as success." I use failure, mistakes or messing up to ignite my curiosity for inquiry. I ask myself why it’s not working.
Once I find something not working, I ask myself what I could instead substitute. I make shifts, changes, and "redesigns" based on the answers from my questions about the 'failure.'
My ‘Creative Exploration Formula’ leads me through the creative process like a trusted friend. But if I feel creative block and am unable to dislodge myself from it, I review my list of ways for nurturing creativity.
Watch for next week's blog featuring ways for nurturing creativity...
YourCreativeChord offers quality content, a positive community, and support for those interested in nurturing creativity and inspiration.
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In my blog, Learning To Be Creative, I walk through my creative process in a simplified way.
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by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
If you’ve read any of my blogs on inspiration or creativity, or listened to any of my new podcasts this year, you’ll know exactly what my personal values are about.
My brand name, YourCreativeChord, is symbolic of the importance I place on empowering myself and you with the tools to nurture creative energy and inspired daily life.
If you’ve been reading my photo essays under the Creativity menu on my website, you’ll see more closely, behind the scenes, under the hood, of my personal creative process.
That’s partly why I created my 2020 Nature Calendars, too. My calendars feature my own photos, taken on my iPhone with a simple one-button push. My photos are a reminder of how I find ways in the midst of my daily life, to notice, discover, and explore nature’s incredible beauty within an ordinary moment.
I created these calendars as a representation of my brand. Immersion in nature is a huge part of healthy self-care. I added written monthly themes to remind you to be mindful of each moment. My calendar's monthly themes help you remember how your mindset matters toward reaching goals each day, month, and for the year.
I value finding ways for nurturing creativity and inspiration. If you’re reading this, obviously, so do you.
My calendars are a tangible example of how I approach the creative process. Each time you look at a monthly photo in my calendar, or read my written positive affirmation, you’re receiving my message about the importance of being true to yourself—and of how expressing that authenticity is to tapping inspiration. When you allow yourself to be real, genuine, vulnerable, open—the creative muse will come to you naturally.
I made these calendars for you as a reminder to seize your day, create an experience of gratitude and joyful awareness through nature’s beauty and healing force. Every time you look at my calendar on your wall, you’re reminded to refresh your creative energy.
We All Go Through Creative Blocks
Sometimes we even doubt our ability to be creative at all. In those moments, if you have my calendar, you’ll get a friendly, warm, gentle reminder that you’ve got this. Creativity is in your life just as it’s in mine.
And if I’m not a professional photographer who uses fancy camera gear, or knows all the advanced technical stuff, so what?
I stand in my truth. I look at the world from where I stand, with whatever tools are in my hand, and I shoot. Er, push the button.
The point is that my calendars are based on my creative process of finding time for self-care, especially through experiencing nature. There's scientific research proving that experiencing awe improves your optimism and lowers stress. Nature is a constantly changing source of awe that is constantly there.
See How You Are Incredible
I want you to see how incredible you are. How easy it can be to release your stress to the air and relish the vibrance and wonder that nature brings to your senses. Exploring the profundity of nature’s compassionate force can put you back in rhythm with your own inherent creative flow.
That’s why I made my 2020 calendars.
And yeah, they aren’t mass distributed. I used decent quality materials so you could write your personal goals, events and notes on them easily.
I left plenty of white space so you can set and track your personal goals in the same place where you’ll see a joyful or peaceful moment in nature.
The same place where a positive affirmation will be to encourage you about your infinite creative potential.
You can feel how I incorporate authenticity, an open heart and sincere determined effort in the creative process from these calendars. You can see why this visual and written format is important to me.
If I can make something out of the simplicity of a moment within my day, so can you. These calendars were made to empower you and me toward manifesting our beautiful relationship with the unceasing compassionate power of the universe.
That’s why I made these calendars.
The cart has closed on YourCreativeChord's 2020 Inspiring Calendar. Stay tuned for 2021 Calendars in October 2020!
IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU'LL LOVE MY INTERVIEWS WITH CREATORS, & INSPIRING STORIES! CLICK HERE FOR MORE!
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
Listen to the Podcast version here.
Plenty of adult music students have told me that they were not creative. I’ve always responded, ‘Nonsense!' Everyone is creative. Some of us have learned to tap it more naturally than others.
Anyone who knows me uses the word creative to describe me. I blog, podcast, write, compose, play piano, improvise, sing, garden, take photos, make videos, design my website layout, present, facilitate. As a former music and piano educator, I've been known to tweak a lesson in mid-stream to make learning accommodations for my students, lead drum circles on the beach, and more.
The point is that I know how to be creative. Ideas, thoughts, patterns, melodies, rhythm, words, drama, and humor burst forth from me as an unstoppable fountain. Creative expression is more natural to me than breathing. Immersed in creative projects, I sometimes forget to breathe!
Incidentally, I’ve never met a child who was not able to be creative. Young people are fully tapped into the creative dimension. They need no map to get there.
Adults, however, are a different story. We sometimes lose our way to creative freedom, due to stress and pressure from our daily responsibilities. We grow out of touch with ourselves, and forget how to listen to our intuitive voice. We pay too much attention to the harsh judgments from society, and shrink our creative energy in response. We foolishly compare ourselves and our creativity to others, with standards that aren't fair or realistic.
There will always be art that's better or worse than ours. There will always be someone whose creative skills are more honed than ours. There will always be people whose creative output surpasses our own. None of this matters.
What matters is that we allow our authentic creative expression to flow sincerely and honestly. If you’ve lost your way or simply need some help getting connected to your creative side, here are some things I’ve learned about how to be imaginative:
Setting aside time to explore creative adventure is not only healthy and enriching for you, it will lead to your creative development. The more you give your creative life, the greater energy it will ignite.
Enjoy your process and Viva La Vie Boheme!
Let me know if these suggestions are helpful or if you have more tips for tapping creativity by leaving a comment below!
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COMING SOON: Watch this space for new ebooks, products and courses for nurturing creativity and inspiration!
In my CREATIVITY blogs, you’ll find tips for exploring creative flow, and inspiring content related to the inherent challenges and tremendous joy within the creative process.