One way to get the inspiration and ideas flowing is to mix your media. I’m not talking about adding a bit of collage to your writing or adding some paint to your sculpture. What I mean is mixing the media in your head. Give your muse something to think about and churn over.
Examples of mixing media
If you are writing about a character, how would you describe them, not in words but in sound? If you are painting a picture, what word, or words, would describe it to someone who hasn’t seen it? If you are creating a sculpture what sound would it make?
Mixing the media makes you look (listen and feel) at what you are creating using a different sense. What sound is that character making? What colour is that word? What song is that image singing? What does your canvas smell like? Use words, colours, sounds and smells to describe your art. Take your art in a new direction or simply push yourself to another level in your creative journey.
So if you’re stuck, or need a little inspiration, try to mix your media. Use sounds to describe words, use words to describe images, use smells to describe shapes, use shapes to describe words, use colours to describe sounds and so on, I think you get the idea.
Have a wonderful, creative day and realise your creative potential.
Is your art really that bad?
Picture it, you’re in the ‘creative’ zone, pulling together your masterpiece; pouring your soul into your art… you take a step back, look/listen to it and think, ‘that’s rubbish!’
It is easy to throw away what you’ve done because you don’t think it is good enough. Perhaps it isn’t the best that could be done, perhaps it does need some more work, perhaps it isn’t great. But it is something that you have created.
At these times, why not use the quote from John Cage to question whether it really is rubbish.
The first question I ask myself when something doesn’t seem to be beautiful is why do I think it’s not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.
How to prepare for a creative weekend
Are you ready? Do you have everything in order? Is the scene set for you to have the best creative weekend ever? If you are like me then probably not. However, it isn’t too late to do some simple housekeeping in order to reach that creative potential this weekend. There are three areas we can look at to make it easier for our creativity to flow.
Prepare your tools
Do you have your pens, paints and paper ready? If you want to do a little visual creating then they need to be at hand. Make sure you know where they are. It is surprising how often we get the creative urge and we don’t now where our most basic tools are.
This is true whatever creative adventure you want to take. Musicians, do you know where that jack lead or guitar pick is? Writers, do you use a dictionary? Do you know where it is? Is your pen full of ink? Is your laptop fully charged? … Where’s the charger?
Prepare your space
We have two options. The first is the place you always create. This could be a dedicated studio or corner somewhere. If so, make sure it is ready to be used. Is it cluttered with old projects or the detritus (I love that word) of previous creative endeavours? Give it a quick tidy, a once over. The aim is to make sure it is ready to be used. It doesn’t have to be spotless or even tidy, just ready.
The second is for getting out and about. If you are going out then you need to know where you are going. Make sure you know how to get there and how long it might take. It’s no good travelling somewhere to paint the view only to be greeted by the light of the moon… unless that’s your creative aim, in which case you’ll still need to know. Make the journey as relaxing as possible. Arrive ready and not exhausted. Creativity demands energy.
Finally, if you are travelling you’ll need to make sure you have everything you need with you. You won’t be able to pop back home to get that particular tube of yellow ochre. Go back to the preparing your tools section above and think about what you need in a portable creative toolkit.
Prepare your soul
Don’t forget yourself. So often we get everything ready and then realise we’re drained. There is nothing left for us to give. If you are planning a creative weekend, prepare your tools and your space, then take a break. Top up your batteries and prepare your soul.
Eat healthily and rest. The wrong food can make us sluggish, that’s our minds as well as our bodies. Feed on things that inspire us. Listen to some great music, browse through amazing works of art, read some powerful poetry or prose.
Be inspired and prepare you soul. With a prepared soul, the inspiration will flow easier.
Go forth and create
Take a moment and prepare. The more you can prepare, the less you will have to work when the inspiration flows. Have a wonderful, creative weekend. And let me know what you get up to. I need a little inspiration too!
The seven deadly sins of creativity
There are seven deadly sins. These sins are mortal sins. They will destroy you and condemn your soul, requiring a new outpouring of grace and reconciliation. At least according to Catholic teaching, give or take several thousand words.
These same seven deadly sins can also condemn and destroy your creativity. If you want to reach your creative potential, you need to stay clear of these sins, because, as they are rightly called, they are deadly.
If we envy the work of others, we condemn our own. Comparing our creativity, our art, to others often leads us feeling inferior. By all means be inspired by the amazing work of others, but let it lead you to create your own unique work. Beware the trap of envy, be inspired but be different. There is no need to compare your work to the work of others. You are you, creating your own masterpieces.
Laziness will lead to incomplete and unrealised creative dreams. Sloth isn’t about struggle, about being stuck with a creative decision and being unable to proceed. It is about not bothering. If you want to write, write. If you want to paint, paint. If you can’t be bothered, you will reap exactly what you sow.
Our physical selves need to be looked after. If we eat, drink or do almost anything in excess, we’ll not be able to focus on our art. If we are making ourselves unhealthy then we need to change that. Look after your mind and body as much as you can.
Gluttony is also a problem if we gorge on other people’s work, copying instead of being inspired. We can become obese with their ideas to the detriment of our own. Their work becomes the starting point for our own and we are in danger of never moving beyond that. Don’t end up making a forgery, but forge ahead with your own creativity.
Desire takes our eyes off what is needed and lingering on what is wanted. Don’t fall into lust’s snare, wanting the best or latest tools, software or materials. Make sure you can see the difference between what you need and what you want. Creativity often shines brightest when your resources are limited. If we are always desiring and chasing after the next best thing, we won’t be creating in the here and now. Don’t be a slave to lust, always believing there is something better you can have and that you won’t be able to create until you have it.
Pride is insidious. We should be confident of our own work. We have talents and abilities. Having conquered the sin of envy, beware the sin of pride.
We should have a certain pride in what we create. We may even display an air of arrogance because of our talents. However, we are not perfect. The sin of pride is the belief that our art is, or more accurately, that we are. If we think our art is perfect we will no longer grow and improve as an art creator. Without growth, our ideas and our creations will stagnate. The world will move on and we will be left worshipping our own creation, our own image in the mirror.
Wrath isn’t about just being upset with our work, or even our lack of work if we are stuck. Wrath is about anger. Wrath is when we are so distraught that we destroy things.
There is nothing wrong with crossing out, covering with white gesso or hitting the delete key. We will make mistakes. We will need to correct them. We will learn and make better art this way. If we let wrath control us, we won’t learn. We won’t improve. We will be too angry to listen to theories or our inner muse.
You may get angry at times, that is part of being a human, and also part of being creative. If you let wrath take hold, you will stay angry. Wrath destroys. We should create.
We saw above how wanting leads to lust. Wanting to create for the wrong reasons is also dangerous. Wanting more money, being greedy in our desire to make it, and seeing money as the ultimate goal, will destroy our creativity. When we create for money, we don’t create our best. When money is the goal or the reason, we have sold out.
There is nothing wrong with making money from our art, we all need to survive. But don’t let greed for money be the driving force when you create. The greed and lure of money will destroy your inspiration and your soul. If you are not creating what your muse is prompting but what your desire for money is demanding, the muse will leave. If the muse isn’t wanted she will depart. Once the muse goes, it is very difficult to ask her to return.