“Great art picks up where Nature ends.” – Marc Chagall
5 Ways to Upgrade Your Creativity in 2018
1) Purchase a yearlong calendar and plan your creative year.
Buy a month by month calendar that displays beautiful, inspiring photographs. As you flip through the scenes consider what creative goals you would like to work toward this year. Would you like to travel to places you have never been and record new sights? Are you interested in working with night time photography? Would you like to record every sunset for an entire summer? Are there skills you need to develop or improve to attain these goals?
Once you have determined your goals, break them down into small manageable pieces. Do you need to purchase supplies, adjust your schedule, obtain education or coordinate with others in order to make things happen? Set a time table to achieve each of these pieces and use the calendar to mark down your “Complete By” dates.
For example – If you need to purchase an art tool, break the cost into monthly increments. Mark your calendar to save that amount each month. Set your Completion Date for the purchase and mark that date as well. Once the tool has been purchased, mark your calendar with the dates you will use it.
You might decide you would like to photograph every full moon for the entire year. Use your calendar to record the full moon rise time and dates. Plan your schedule to be available at those times. Decide what location would be best to shoot from and list that information as well.
Remember the age-old axiom, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
2) Be In the Now
After all of this far ahead planning, you must remember to Be In the Now.
We can only live life in the present, but because the world runs at warp speed with so many things going on all at once, we miss much of it. A customer once asked me where a photo was taken. When I told him he said, “I drive past there every day and have never seen that.”
Today’s accepted focus is multitasking. We try to accomplish three times the chores in half the time. Haven’t we all seen the person driving down the highway while talking on the phone and eating a sandwich? Did they even taste the food?
We must learn to turn off the “autopilot” setting of our life, slow down a bit and PAY ATTENTION to what is going on right NOW. Once we slow down enough to perceive our surroundings, we suddenly notice the striking way the sun highlights those simple trees we drive past every day.
3) Learn Something New
When we do the same thing the same way every day what happens? We take things for granted. We get stuck in a rut. We stop growing. We lose our creativity. How can we become a better artist if we never challenge ourselves to improve by learning a new technique, changing our tools or experimenting with new methods?
Stimulate creativity by learning something new. Try traveling a different route to and from work. Go driving in the countryside and take random turns down side roads to see where they lead. Have you always used Lightroom to process your images? Experiment with On1 Raw or Photoshop instead. Have you always used a three light set-up in the studio? What can you do with only one light? Shoot twenty photos of a coffee mug that are all different. By number twenty I guarantee you’ll be getting creative!
4) Let Go of Negativity
Have you ever said, “I can’t do that?” I bet you have.
The problem is, when you say, “I can’t do that,” you are self-sabotaging. You are taking careful aim and shooting down your creative goals before they even have a chance to blossom.
I’m telling you Of Course You Can!
The first time you try something you may not be an expert, but how do you think the expert became one? Being an artist is about the ongoing process of creating art. There is a development curve involved. When you first begin your art it will look a certain way. After you’ve spent some time working it will become more polished. Every time you create you learn and grow. The only way to fail at creating art is to stop trying! Can you try? Of course you can!
Another potential pitfall with negativity… other people. Who in your life is whispering into your ear that you won’t succeed? Maybe they don’t whisper, but say it directly to your face or in front of all your friends? Have you been told, “You can’t do that?”
Don’t listen to them! Let go of or avoid anyone who tells you that you can’t accomplish your goals. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who encourage you to be your best.
5) Revamp Your Space
When you walk into your creative space it should make you sing with joy. It should support and stimulate your creative juices. The space should say to you, “Create something!” It should not make you feel tired, overwhelmed or leave you thinking, “Geeze, I really need to clean up this mess.”
If your space is cluttered, clean and organize it. If it is dark, add lights. Fill the space with things that inspire you to create. Hang some photos of your creative heroes. Post some beautiful images you admire and wish to emulate. It is not about getting it “right” because there is no “right” way to design this space. It is all about customizing a work space that inspires you to do your best creative work.
Apply these five creativity basics and make 2018 your New Year to Create!