When we’re in difficult times, one of the things we often find hardest is to keep our creativity. That’s why, in this blog post, I’m going to focus on things you can do to stay creative in difficult times…
We’ve all been having a difficult time of late. The pandemic came along and swept us all up in a whirlwind of fear, panic, and a rapidly changing way of life. So, we all know what difficult times feel like.
Of course, most of us go through difficult times at several periods throughout our lives, not just when something huge hits the whole world. And, when times get tough, we find out what we’re really made of. We lose some of our spark and we stop doing the things we love the most. This is the worst possible thing we can do because it is only by doing the things we love that we can nurture our spirits and find our way back to ourselves.
Just pick up the needle
Or pen or paintbrush or whatever happens to be your creative tool of choice. You may not feel like quilting or making a life drawing right now, and you don’t have to if you really aren’t up to it, but often, once you get started, there’ll be no stopping you. So even if you don’t feel like it, pick that thing up and see what kind of magic flows from your hands.
Have a routine to stay creative
If you’re struggling to even get started, one thing that can really help is having a routine. It may seem like the opposite of artistic freedom, but scheduling time for creativity, quilting or other creative tasks could really help. If it’s on your schedule, that means it’s an obligation, not an option, right? That means you need to work on it for at least a little while, and as above, once you get started (which is the biggest hurdle to jump) chances are you will keep going and create something wonderful.
Not only is meditation great for helping you to destress and find a sense of peace in difficult times, but it has also been shown to boost creativity in several studies too. When you give your brain the chance to slow down, stop ruminating on the negative and just be, you give it the freedom to find inspiration. And, chances are, when you get up from your meditation session you’ll have a great idea for a brilliant new project. Even if you don’t, you’ll feel calmer and more able to at least think about doing something creative. There are numerous apps that can help you learn to meditate for free, and even just 20 minutes each day should be enough to get those creative juices flowing once more. I love to use in my daily routine Headspace
Try something new
In difficult times, the things you used to love can fall by the wayside and you can find yourself feeling bored and despondent. One thing that can really help to shake you out of your funk is trying something new. Whether you take an online quilting class, switch on your laptop, and take a stab at writing the next Harry Potter or try turning your old T-shirts into bold and beautiful rugs, there are so many creative pursuits that you can try, and who knows, maybe one of them will ignite a spark in you.
Look at great art
Great art is wonderful, not only because it was skillfully made, but also because it can inspire us. So, if you’re having a tough time, why not revisit some of your favourite artists for inspiration? Whether you head to the local gallery (or look at it online), read art books or enjoy your favourite movies and music, immersing yourself in good art will hopefully reignite that spark in you.
To stay creative…Focus on the process
When times are difficult, the last thing you want to feel like is a failure, which is why so many creative people become paralysed and unable to work. They fear that their next project won’t be perfect and it stops them from acting. Don’t let this happen to you. If you want to stay creative in difficult times, you need to focus on the process; the enjoyment of putting brush to paper or needle to material and nothing else. Not everything is perfect, and it doesn’t have to be. In fact, some of the best pieces of art have either been complete mistakes or contain mistakes within them, so focus on having a good time and forget about the finished outcome, for now anyway.
Use it as fuel
Using the difficult times in your life as fuel for your art is an age-old technique that has produced some of the best art of all time from Munch’s ‘The Scream’ to the poetry of Maya Angelou and the music of Nirvana. Hard times are all grist for the mill, and you can incorporate them into your music, your poetry, heck even your quilting. Channel all those tough emotions and chances are you’ll create your best project yet.
If things are really getting to you, and your creativity, not to mention your mental health, are suffering as a result, simply switch off. Switch off the TV news, stop looking at social media, don’t even think about reading the newspaper and just spend some time being you – the real you without the worries of the world on your shoulders. Not only will you feel better, but without all of the usual stimulus, your brain will be free to find its inspiration unhindered. You’ll also have far more time on your hands to actually get sucked into a project.
Get creative now
Difficult times can make it harder to maintain your creativity, but it’s not impossible to do so, and if you incorporate some of the above ideas into your life, you will probably find that your creative juices start to flow once more. You may even find that you’re more creative than ever before.
What have you done to stay creative the last year? I would love to read you experiences and ideas!