Photo by Chloe Thompson
5 Easy Ways to Stay Creative
By: Kaitlin Ruby
Let’s be real here--we’ve all had those days where we are so overwhelmed it’s excruciating to even think about starting a new creative project. Between balancing day jobs, errands, and life itself--sometimes your creative endeavors (unfortunately) end up on the back burner.
All of us here at RAW know that feeling.
But did you know that staying creative every day not only helps alleviate stress and anxiety, it also improves your problem-solving skills? Google it--it’s true! Whether you are looking for something quick to do every day, or a project to hold you accountable and motivate you on your creative journey, this is the reference tool for you. So, for your sake (and sanity), here is a list of some ways to stay creative even during those hectic weeks:
1. Start an idea book
You know how some days you are just overflowing with ideas that excite you and then the next day you are just...well...not? Wave goodbye to frustration and say hello to inspiration! Writing down all of your project ideas in one place is a reference tool that a lot of creatives use to help tackle inspiration ruts, and it works wonders for days where you are hitting somewhat of an idea roadblock.
First, find something where you can jot down all of your ideas quickly, in one place, no matter where you are. We personally recommend using a small pocket notebook that you can carry around with you, although a smartphone with a note taking app works just as well (just make sure it’s backed up so you don’t lose everything if something happens to your phone!). Try and add at least one idea a day--even if you think it’s bad--because you never know if your “bad idea” will help guide your train of thought in the direction of a really good idea.
This personal reference guide is a great launchpad for starting and completing projects that will leave you feeling creatively fulfilled and accomplished on the daily! You can even go so far as to sort your ideas into “Big Ideas” (for days when you have a lot of time on your hands) and “Quick Ideas” (for when you are in a rush and just need a quick creative fix).
2. Mindlessly doodle to some music
Listen, we understand. Life can be hard sometimes, and all we want to do when we get home is just curl up in our bed and (re)-binge watch The Office. But before you dive right back into that Netflix hole, take 5 minutes to do a mindless creative exercise. Mindlessly doodling to some music is just as therapeutic as it is creative and is a great alternative activity for your more stressful days-- where even coming up with an idea seems overwhelming.
Some other good activities for you to try:
Working on an adult coloring book (there’s even one designed specifically for meditation and relaxation)
3. Add to the “mural” every day
Who doesn’t love the sweet, sweet feeling of completing that giant project that has been looming over your head for months? It’s almost euphoric, right? But honestly...if we’re being real...why is it so difficult to start sometimes?
Occasionally, we get so overwhelmed by just the thought of beginning a huge creative endeavor that we procrastinate until the ends of the earth. Our imagination runs wild with 1,000,000 excuses for why we can’t work on that painting/illustration/book/video/accessory/choreography today. The objective of this activity is to make the task of starting and creating a finished product less overwhelming than it needs to be (See also: this amazing article about the 5 Minute Rule).
Begin with a blank piece of paper, canvas, or whatever surface is calling out to you. Then, every day, add at least one thing (it can be a doodle, found object, magazine cutout, quote, etc) that resonates with you in that particular moment. Keep adding on to it every day until it is complete. Then, take a step back and admire your handy work! Congratulate yourself on finishing an actual work of art and then start the process over again the next day. You’d be surprised at just how much you can actually create in your lifetime by just taking a few minutes a day to add something to a blank surface.
Not a visual artist? Don’t worry--you can put your own spin on it! Get creative! Instead of adding to the mural, add a step to the choreography. Or add a chapter to that book you’ve been wanting to write. Anything that will get you to sit down for a few minutes a day and create.
4. Decorate something!
This is relatively self-explanatory--but you’d be surprised at how much personalizing your objects really does help to inspire and motivate you!
For example, try decorating the outside and inside of your planner. This is a great tip for creatives who have a little more trouble staying organized and on top of things! By doing something as simple as embellishing your weekly planner with stickers or drawings, it makes organization, scheduling, and task lists so much more fun. Can you imagine a world in which you actually want to tackle that giant to-do list looming over your head?
Here are some ideas of other items you could decorate:
Laptops and portable devices
Reusable water bottles
Folders and binders
Plastic storage bins
5. Participate in a monthly creative challenge...or start your own!
You’ve probably heard of Inktober--the popular creative challenge where you are given a daily drawing prompt all throughout October. Or maybe you’ve heard of the 100 Days Project, where you work on a creative endeavor for (you guessed it) 100 days. Sometimes, us artists need a little bit of accountability when it comes to pursuing our craft, and these monthly challenges provide us with exactly that! It helps not only to track progress, but to motivate us to put in the work needed in order to get to where (and who) we want to be. Sometimes, a little bit of structure and discipline in creativity is not a bad thing. :)
And there you have it! 5 ways that you can stay creative on a daily basis. It is our hope that this list inspires you to keep trucking along, even on those days where you may be feeling a little defeated. We here at RAW want you to realize your full potential as the wonderful, colorful, brilliant artist and human being that you are--and staying creative every day is the first step to becoming the absolute best version of yourself you can possibly be.
Want more tips on how to improve and sustain your creative output? Stay tuned next week for the second part of our creativity series--where we tackle how to overcome creative blocks!
Well...what are you waiting for? Go forth and make art!
Did this article inspire you to create? Show us! Use the hashtag #RAWcreativitychallenge and let us know how you stay creative!