Need a few tips to increase creativity? After spending close to a year at home, you may have found that your creativity has suffered. As someone who actually named their business Linda Holt Creative, you can image how despondent I was when I felt like my creativity had suffered.
I learned that too many days spent inside, too much Netflix and no social interaction can be crushing to one’s creative mind.
Pre-pandemic, I rarely went a day without photographing something. I “saw” photos everywhere and my Smartphone camera was in use multiple times a day.
It was probably mid pandemic when I realized months had gone by and I hadn’t taken any photos. Nada, zip…not a single photo!
Not one to accept that my creativity was dead, I did a little research on creativity and followed some of the recommendations. They actually worked so I want to share five tips to increase your creativity.
1. Do something out of the ordinary
Stepping out of your routine and doing something out of the ordinary is a great way to ignite a creative spark. Often times simply changing one’s environment and perspective will boost creativity.
In my case I decide to visit the zoo. I hadn’t been to a Zoo since my 30+ year old sons were around three and five. We have a zoo right in our town though so I figured why not?
There were two types of people at the zoo, moms with young kids and grandparents with young kids. As a middle aged woman by myself I felt somewhat awkward and out of place. I decided to pretended I was a journalist doing a photo essay on the zoo. A few people still gave me the side eye but I ignored them.
A few hours later, I returned home refreshed and full of creative ideas.
Inspired by my morning at the zoo, I created an art image from a photo of two broken plastic flamingos that I had taken a while back.
2. Get out into nature
There is something about a walk on the beach or a hike in the woods that clears our heads and allows for creativity to bubble up. Breath in the air, notice the smells and pay attention to the many colors and textures.
When we relax in nature, creativity is given the space it needs to come forward. I always find endless amounts of subject matter to photograph in nature.
Ask almost anyone to name one thing that inspires their creativity and most likely you will hear travel. Unfortunately, most international travel is on hold for the moment so you have to make do with local travel.
Pretend you are a tourist and walk through your city with tourist’s eyes. So often we don’t take the time to open our mind to places that are familiar. Bring your camera and see how many things you can find interesting to photograph. Even if you’ve been there hundreds of times look for something new.
Boston is my hometown but walking around early one Sunday morning I came upon these dining pods that I had not noticed before. My husband told me we had walked by these several times before but practicing using my tourist’s eyes, I “saw” them for the first time.
4. Clear the decks
One sure fire way to crush creativity is when surrounded by clutter. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, ” A cluttered space equals a cluttered mind”. So clear off your desk and counters, ditch the clutter and allow room for your creativity to blossom.
5. Give yourself creativity homework assignments
This last tip was the most impactful for me in bringing my creativity back. Even during the height of the lock down when I couldn’t venture far from home this tip worked.
Several weeks in a row I gave myself photo assignments before I took the dog out for a walk. I would come up with a different assignment each day. On this particular day, my assignment was “pattern”.
Had I not told my brain to look for patterns I would have walked right by this pattern in the snow.
Giving yourself an assignment is similar to taking a drive and someone asks you to look for red cars. Chances are, you wouldn’t notice any red cars if your brain was not primed for seeing red cars.
Below is another assignment I gave myself. We live in an urban setting just outside the center of town. It was the excellent location that prompted us to purchase our condo, but our view is the back of an auto body shop. There is no way of getting around that it is a very ugly view.
I gave myself an assignment to make a photo that made our ugly view look better than it really does.
No matter what I did, I couldn’t find a photo where the view looked even slightly appealing. Golden light, rainy day, filters, I tried everything to no avail.
Then, one morning I saw it! After a night of freshly fallen snow, I found my shot. A semi attractive shot of our back yard view.
For comparison to understand what a triumph this photo is, below is how it looks today.
The latest update on this view is that a huge racoon now lives in that shed and has become nightly entertainment for our dog and my neighbor’s cat. He (or she) sits on that dilapidated roof for hours each evening, taunting our dog Nevers and Harry the cat.
An invitation for a photo challenge
If you like this idea of photography assignments to help increase your creativity , consider joining my free Facebook Group. Every Monday a photo challenge is posted and every Sunday “winners” are announced. It is 100% fun and 0% competition. Everyone is an amature and it’s all in good fun. Plus, the members are the nicest, most fun group on FB (in my humble opinion)!.
Here is the link if you want to check it out. Cellphone Photo Challenge by Linda Holt
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