I have a theory/kind-of-cheesy analogy about creativity. Ready?
Creativity is like a river flowing inside of you. Whether you are an accountant, artist, barista, or whatever else, this body of water runs through you, through all of us. Side note:
If you are alive, you are creative. [tweet]
So this river (your creativity). In its natural state, it runs wild — rapids and undercurrents and white water abound. When you are a child, it flows especially free. You build towering cities from tiny legos and paint purple monsters with 59 eyeballs and draw superheros on sidewalks.
Maybe something happened when you were 10, or 26, or 52, but one day you wake up and making stuff feels foreign. You don't know where to begin, or how. Maybe you have a small inkling of a thing you want to make, but you don't make it.
You go to bed. You wake up. You go to work. You still don't make a thing.
With every passing day, the things you don't make pile up, and soon the river is dammed.
For it to flow again, you must make a thing. And other things. You must make all the things.
You must produce. You must let all the stifled creative energy that's stuck inside work through your body if you want new ideas, inspiration, growth. The old must exit to make room for the new.
Once you start making things, the river slowly begins to flow again — perhaps just a trickle. But soon the dam will bust open and you will be flooded with ideas and inspiration.
This is where one of my favorite practices comes in — a daily art project! Whether it's a week, month, or even 100 days, when you start showing up daily and making "shitty first drafts", that's when the good stuff springs forth.
It can be as simple as buying a notebook or pad of paper. Yesterday I grabbed a pad multimedia paper with 30 sheets, and I'm painting one sheet a day for the next month.
I believe everyone needs to go through an intentionally experimental phase with their creativity (like a DIY art school). I believe in the power of showing up every day and making. It's really hard. And completely worth it.
Stop sitting, waiting for that big idea, and start today with ONE thing. Maybe you don't feel confident in what you make. That's because you don't have experience making it yet! Start today. No more merely wishing "I want to make _____." Start today.
Start today, keep going tomorrow, and the ideas will flow forever. [tweet]
If you're interested in a guided month of making, be sure to check out GRIT: A 30-Day Guidebook to Relentless Discovery for Visual Artists.
(This is one of the things I've made!)
It's $19 and inside you'll find 20 creative prompts (note: I will NOT ask you to draw your coffee cup...), four weekly reflective exercises, resources, a free #atwildwoman download, and more.