How To Spark Your Creativity | Atlanta Photographer
I often get questions centered around creativity and the pursuit of it. I get asked where I draw my creativity from and how one can be more creative in general. Honestly, I initially didn’t think I had much to contribute on the topic because I draw inspiration from many different things in life and that’s what sparks my creativity.
But once I sat down and delved deeper I realized there are so many important things to say about creativity that I wanted to touch on during my live session yesterday and recap in this blog post today. So let’s go!
First, let’s debunk some myths about creativity.
According to the dictionary, creativity is defined as “the ability to create”. What this means to me is that creativity isn’t just a term reserved for artists. It means that if you’re ever created anything within your lifetime then you, by definition, possess creativity that you can tap into.
So you can be a scientist and be creative. You can be a chef and be creative. You can be an accountant and be creative. Creativity is not about who you are or what you do. At its core, creativity is about “producing through imaginative skill”.
Another common idea that we as a society hold true is that creativity is something you either have or you don’t. There’s this belief that you were either born creative or you weren’t. It’s seen as a trait that either you possess or you don’t, but I don’t believe this thought to be true either.
Instead, I subscribe to the mindframe that some people are more open to creativity than others. But what does that mean?
I think of it like this: some people actively seek out opportunities to create on a regular basis. Or they place themselves in creative environments more often than others. And we know that the more you intentionally practice something, the better you become at it. This means that people who regularly immerse themselves in creative environments or constantly look for opportunities to express their creativity become “better” at tapping into their creativity.
So it’s not that some people have access to creativity while others don’t. And it’s not that creativity is a characteristic only reserved for a select portion of the population. I believe creativity is accessible for all, it just depends on how hard you’re willing to work to achieve it if it doesn’t seem to come naturally.
2 myths about creativity we’re no longer holding true
1. Creativity is a trait reserved solely for artists
2. You are either born with creativity or you’re not
So how do we become more creative?
1. Actively seek out opportunities to practice being creative
Practice makes perfect, so find time to actively practice being creative. Get into the practice of tapping into your creativity on demand instead of waiting for inspiration to spark your desire to create.
If you’re a writer, your practice might look like stream of thought journaling every day. If you’re a dancer, practice freestyling on a regular basis. If you’re a makeup artist, create makeup looks with the sole purpose of practicing being creative, even when you have nowhere to go
From a photographer’s point of view, I realize that sometimes it can get difficult to find time to do things for yourself. You start to feel selfish or like you’re spending valuable time that could be dedicated to making money with a paying client on something unimportant.
However, it’s VERY important to carve personal time out to re-fuel your creativity levels on a personal basis to avoid burnout. Plan personal shoots on your calendar just like you would a paid shoot for a client to emphasize the important of this practice. I would recommend to do at least 1 personal shoot for every 10 client sessions you shoot.
When you begin actively seeking out opportunities to practice tapping into your creativity, it should start to become easier for you to do so.
2. Allow creativity to flow from all points of inspiration
Now that you’ve become more open to opportunities to express your creativity, remain open to all sorts of inspiration from many sources.
One common place to find inspiration is music, and I would highly encourage you to practice tapping into your creativity by listening to instrumental music in particular. One of my favorites to listen to is Kai Engel, so definitely check him out if you have no idea where to start with instrumentals. He has tons of albums to sift through to find what you like.
The reason I encourage listening to instrumental music is because when you listen to music with lyrics it’s easy to determine how you feel while listening. Often times the lyrics of the song will explicitly tell you how you should feel.
However, with instrumentals you really have to listen to the intricacies of the song and come up with your own interpretation. It requires a deeper level of thinking to understand the message that you’re receiving from the song and it encourages more creativity on your part to translate these feelings into words.
Other common places to find inspiration:
• Other works of art (paintings, sculptures, etc.)
An awesome resource for inspiration when you feel like you’re lacking is Pinterest. Pinterest is great because you can be very specific as to what you’re seeking as your point of inspiration. Instagram is also another great resource, but be careful not to get caught up in the game of comparison with other creators that are sharing on the platform.
Also, make sure when you’re browsing these platforms that you’re seeking for inspiration, not to copy. And if you do decide to re-create someone’s work, always ALWAYS credit the original source.
3. Immerse yourself in creative communities
Another way to be open to inspiration is to collaborate with other creatives. Allow yourself to feed off of their creative energies while simultaneously feeding into theirs. This exchange of creativity can energize you and bring ideas to the surface that you might not have otherwise considered on your own.
A great way to find other creatives to collaborate with is to join a community centered around educating, encouraging and uplifting one another creatively. There are plenty of groups on Facebook that cater to these needs. There are also membership forums, such as Clickin Moms, that fulfill these needs as well.
Attending events geared towards creative exploration is another great way to surround yourself in a creative community. Meetup.com is an awesome resource to find these types of events; there’s literally groups that already exist for pretty much everything under the sun. And if you don’t see a group that’s already focused on your particular interests, consider starting one yourself!
Likewise, attending conferences based on the skillset you’re trying to build is another way to join a creative community. I will be teaching at Click Away Conference from Feb 6 – 11 (so be sure to watch all of the fun happening in my IG stories) and that’s an awesome way to fellowship with other creatives in an environment geared towards collectively refreshing our inspiration levels.
Whatever your specific interest may be, start looking for spaces (online or in person) where you can actively meet up with other creatives to feed your creative spirit on a regular basis.
4. Never stop learning
A great way to encourage yourself to explore creatively is to stay learning something new. If you find that you’ve begun to feel stagnant, make the conscious effort to pick up a new skillset or try to truly master something you’re already comfortable with. A few places you can sign up for classes:
• Click Photo School (photographers specifically)
• Unraveled Academy (photographers specifically)
Whenever you feel stuck, challenge yourself to sign up for a new class or start a challenge to learn something new. This is a guaranteed method to help remove you from this space and jumpstart your creativity.
Creativity may seem like some abstract concept that’s exclusively accessible to only a portion of the population, but I’d like to end that type of thinking. With effort, I truly believe anyone can become more creative.
Would you consider yourself to be creative? Why or why not? Do you think it’s possible to up your creativity levels? Join the conversation and share your personal thoughts below!
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