Although there were many lessons we all had to learn in 2020, one of the major questions we had to ask ourselves was: “what is there to do when we have nowhere to go?” As seen on social media, it seemed as though society came to a collective realization that the lockdown period earlier this year was the perfect time to finally pursue the interests we always said we never had time for. Whether it was writing that short story or picking up the guitar or painting along to old Bob Ross episodes, it felt as though humanity had rediscovered the pleasure of working towards something that wasn’t for monetary or social gain or even bragging rights. It was simply the act of creativity.
As the world slowly returns to normalcy (or whatever the new normal may be), you may likely feel that the wave of creativity has suddenly come to a stop. Perhaps you’ve returned to the office or are now spending eight hours of the day staring at your own webcam as your co-workers try to figure out how to share their screen on Zoom. Maybe you’re navigating the world of online classes and can’t remember the last time you wrote anything that wasn’t in APA format. Whatever your situation may be, you have not lost your sense of creativity – you are simply experiencing a lack of inspiration. So what is there to be done? Here are three tips on stirring up your creative sense again.
Look to Others. Find someone who is doing something you want to do and try your hand at it. Want to paint portraits? Great! You don’t have to become Rembrandt. Take a look at artists on social media or visit your local gallery (don’t forget your mask!) and see all the different styles of painting that artists specialize in. Let other people expand your horizon, but remember to do things your own way; as Herman Melville once wrote, “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”
Try Something New. Most likely, you already tried something new this year and you have photos of a burnt loaf of homemade sourdough to prove it. But what about something a little more daunting? Try other creative mediums than your usual forms and see where it takes you. Like to write songs? Why not learn embroidery? Like woodworking? Why not try watercolour painting? There is no better time to step outside of your comfort zone – and you might just surprise yourself with how much you enjoy your new hobby.
Do Nothing. Take a break! The process of creating something is an amazing feeling and the outcome can’t be bought. But what good is creativity when it becomes a chore? When you are feeling uninspired, it’s important to ask yourself – “why am I feeling uninspired?” Is there something else taking up your time and attention? Lockdown did not make you a creative person – you were already creative to begin with. So maybe there is something blocking that creative flow. It’s essential to find out what it is and how to solve it before you can start working towards something again.
Inspiration is a curious thing – it can be found anywhere, and almost always when you are least expecting it. What is important to remember is that inspiration comes and goes, but you are an inherently creative person with or without it. Be patient, keep an open mind, and allow inspiration to come to you.
By Camille Hombrebueno