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.
I’d love to hear from you. It means a lot to me that my content is helpful and empowers you. Please take a moment to join the conversation below to let me know if you find this blog helpful or if you have questions or suggestions!
In my blog, Learning To Be Creative, I walk through my creative process in a simplified way.
What Are Ways For Nurturing Creativity And Inspiration? Part 2
Why Should You Dream Too Big & Harness Your Powerful Imagination?
Defeat Fear & Doubt with Your Courage & Capability
How To Deflect Negativity To Become Happier
Believing In The Positive
My Top Tips For Winning Over Your Insomnia
How To Live A Life of Joyful Creativity
5 Ways To Use Music & Nature For Self-Care
IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU'LL LOVE MY INTERVIEWS WITH CREATORS, & INSPIRING STORIES! CLICK HERE FOR MORE!
Photo Essay Series
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This is the second of my photo essay series featuring images from my newly designed 2020 nature photo calendars. The calendars include monthly self-care themes highlighting strategies for nurturing your creativity and inspiration.
These lily pads on a quiet lake provided the backdrop for personal reflection as I took this photo while at an arts-related conference. Being at the spiritual retreat geared toward empowering artists to fulfill our potential was itself an explosion of encouragement. Taking a moment of solitude to think about the impact of artistry on humanity and vice versa, filled my heart with gratitude and the determination to do my best as an artist for peace.
The quiet scene reminded me of the calmness and beauty of the Water Lily oil painting series by the French impressionist artist, Claude Monet. I’ve always been drawn to the water. Monet’s art in particular, evokes for me, the therapeutic comfort of the water’s ebb and flow.
The rich, deep hue of Toda Lake, with puffy white clouds in a pale blue sky reflected in the pond’s gentle movement, and the brightness of shiny green, floating leaves seemed to burst forth with joyful appreciation. Yet, the serene view was relaxing. It expressed a light cheeriness, and life’s depth and complexity all at once.
From my viewpoint, I saw multiple layers of texture; the sparkling lily pads in the forefront, expanding into the lake’s deep blue, mild ripples, and the lush greenery of the Florida Everglades in the distance. This layered vantage point reminded me how our lives are an intricate, overlapping, dramatic and poetic mesh of stories. The paths we take, how they intertwine with the paths of others, how sometimes our road leads back home, while other routes take us to foreign places; All these interconnect to build our community and link our lives.
This photo captures a moment of time for reflection, to appreciate the drama of each chapter of life. It speaks to me of how we must each pause to take care of our inner life, with silence, absorbing nature’s beauty that’s always surrounding us.
When I look at this photo, I let my mind empty. I let my imagination take me to the quietness of this peaceful place. I inhale its joy, with magnificent color and light, allowing the sensation to fill my heart in spiritual therapy. I envision the emotion from this gorgeous, soft moment nurturing my soul. I let my thoughts float away, and allow the profound beauty of this setting to open my life. Then, I exhale, with gratitude, that at any moment of the day, I have the capacity to experience this.
It’s about taking any small window of the day or night, to look for and discover something worthy of attention. Finding that sliver of time, or tiny space within the heart, to celebrate something seemingly ordinary. Yet, within the everyday, there is something exquisite, something that can surprise and inspire with its authentic beauty. Let’s keep looking for moments like these.
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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.