Step Outside Your Creative Comfort Zone
As creative people we often gravitate to the things we know and love to do but sometimes we lose our mojo. Or, sometimes we just need a little inspiration or to dig deeper to get better at our craft. When that happens, we say step outside of your creative comfort zone and try creating in a new medium.
Give your favourite creative medium a break. Whether it’s writing, drawing, photographer or painting – park it. Try something totally different, preferably something you’ve never done before, and as different from what your comfortable in the better. If you work with your hands, try a creative exercise using just your mind and vise versa. For example, I’m a writer – if someone told me to create something, I’d instantly turn to storytelling. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve picked up a paint brush in my adult life. In fact, exclude wall painting and you could count it without any hands. So, that would be a good challenge for me.
It’s Okay to Suck.
Let me tell you a secret: I’m a horrible artist. If I want to make Tim laugh, I’ll try to sketch something. The memory of my attempt to draw a duck still makes him smile. I was so bad at art class in school that the only way I passed was by only doing abstracts and then relying on my storytelling skills to convince the teacher there was deep meaning in there. And yet, I still consider myself a creative person. Push past the fear of failure, don’t expect to be a Picasso and know that this exercise is about the exercise not necessarily adopting an entirely new discipline – but you never know, you might have a hidden talent in there.
If you find yourself staring at the proverbial blank canvas and wondering where to start in this new medium, try imitating something you’ve done and loved in your chosen medium. Say you’re a musician and you’ve composed a piece of music that you love. Try painting that music or sculpting it. A designer might try writing a story about something they’ve designed (not just describing it, but creating a story around it or featuring it). Let you inspiration come from your comfort zone and express it as an interpretation. This is actually a great way to see your piece in a new light and possibly come back to perfect it even more! As a writer, I use this technique to get over writers block or to get to know my characters better. For example, I might design an outfit for them or paint something they’d hang in their home.
Where’s the Spontaneity?
When you step outside of your comfort zone and enter into a new activity, you place yourself in the moment. That’s where the spontaneity is. By challenging yourself to let go of what’s familiar you find yourself in a place, with new tools in your hand, that require you to move forward based on instinct. By picking a medium that you are unfamiliar with, you can let go of any expectations you might have of yourself and just create.
This spontaneity exercise will not only spark your creativity, it will help you to get out of your own head and come back to your work with fresh eyes. If you’re daring… share what you create (there is no judgment here). Head over to our Facebook page and if at least 5 people post their off-medium piece to our page, I will draw you all a duck…laughs guaranteed!