Every creative person has periods of writer’s block or an artistic atrophy. It’s the intellectual equivalent of a physical plateau in your workout routine. This doesn’t mean you’ve lost your creative edge, just that it needs to be redefined. Luckily, there are exercises you can do to push your creativity boundaries just as there are physical activities to open up those muscles you thought weren’t going to get any stronger!
When my creativity begins to wane, the first place I turn to is my work out. A long walk or run on the beach in the early morning hours offers an opportunity for solitude to clear out all the noise from life that might be clouding my imagination. I try to observe and recite everything I see and feel as I follow a path along the water’s edge. “The sand is white, gray and grainy. This reminds me of childhood summers spent laughing and splashing with friends.” This might inspire a short story or a poem about the innocence of childhood or the appreciation for the vastness of the sea.
I look over the ocean as the sun crests the horizon and mentally catalog every color I see. The sky reflects yellow, purple, blues and bright pinks. Yellow reminds me of summer, the pink and reds reflecting off of the ocean remind me of passion and romance. This may inspire a painting of two lovers on a sunny day. I may not have the painting chops of Monet, but the more I practice the better I become.
Some of my favorite creative exercises are simple word associations. I pick an item and describe it using every adjective I can think of. Then I will follow up the descriptive word with something that it reminds me of. For instance, if I were to give you a word such as shirt, my mind would instantly think of my favorite blouse. It’s a gray-blue long sleeved top. The color reminds me of chilly December afternoons.
About a year ago, I decided I would attempt the more visual arts and I picked up drawing and painting. At first, the best work I produced was the occasional smiley face or stick figure. Gradually I layered on in the same way I would add steps to a workout routine. I added ears to my silly smiley face, then spiky hair and big round cartoon eyes. It’s not the Mona Lisa, but it’s a fun little cartoon that I doodle to practice my drawing chops when I’m stuck on hold on the telephone or while I’m waiting for water to boil on the stove for supper.
Finding your creative balance can be challenging, the good news is there are no rights or wrongs in art, only your expression.
Camicia Bennett: Founder of The Well Written Woman, Florida Native and cerebral creature, she loves her husband, yoga, red wine, potty humor, swearing superfluously and putting hats on her dog. If given her druthers she’d be surfing the web and writing randomness from someplace sunny and tropical whilst sipping her favorite vino. Oh wait, that’s exactly what she does.You can find her randomly sharing her own brand of slightly pretentious propaganda at her personal blog.