Archives for July 2013

{The Daily Creative} Where Creative Inspiration Lurks: Escape

{The Daily Creative is a regular-ish series of blog posts that explore finding creative inspiration in the everyday.}

One of the methods I find most effective for getting the creative juices flowing again is to get the hell out of Dodge. Or in my case, Wilmington, NC.

So I did that recently.  I met up with a good buddy in Tybee Island, GA for a few days of sun, fun, fried seafood, boatloads of stimulating conversation, and Happy Hour on the patio every day at 5:00 p.m. (I think that last bit was my favorite.)

And boy, did I ever need this trip.

You know those inflatable figures you see on the side of the road that dance around in the wind, trying to call attention to some small business with their goofy herky-jerky movements?  And how if they’re not inflated properly or the wind isn’t cooperating that day, they kind of bob around listlessly?

That’s a little bit like what I was feeling like.

But my Tybee trip changed that.

beach at Tybee Island, Georgia

beach at Tybee Island, Georgia

Because how liberating is it to be able to plan your days based simply on what you most feel like doing that day – or what you most decidedly do not feel like doing?  Like, say, dressing up in your monkey suit and showing up at a building to sit in front of a computer all day and have someone else – I’ve heard they’re called “bosses” – dictate what you do for the next 8 – 10 hours.  {Shivers.}

That’s the beauty of getting away.  Your days are your own to do with whatever you please.  And that kind of freedom breeds creative inspiration, which ideally carries over into your everyday life once you return home.  It’s as if something has been shaken and stirred – you can’t quite put your finger on it, but something is different.

The creative doors are blown off, and the ideas start knocking around in your head so fast and furious you write them down hourly in the Moleskin you carry with you everywhere you go, or in that tattered notebook in the bottom of your purse, or in Notes app on your iPhone.

I’m reminded of a passage about a character named Lily from Virginia Woolf’s novel To The Lighthouse:

Certainly she was losing consciousness of outer things. And as she lost consciousness of outer things … her mind kept throwing up from its depths, scenes, and names, and sayings, and memories and ideas, like a fountain spurting.

That’s been my reality since I got back from Tybee.  Fingers crossed the ideas and inspiration keep on a comin.’

What about you?  How does getting out of town for a few days, or at least away from your normal surroundings, affect your creative output?  And how do you keep that good creative vibe going once you return to your daily life?

I’d love to hear your thoughts about your experience with this in the comments below, so go on and share.  You know you want to.  : )

{The Daily Creative} Notes on Liberating Yourself from Creative Deadlock

The Daily Creative_#1

{The Daily Creative is a regular-ish series of blog posts that explore finding creative inspiration in the everyday.}

Lately I’ve been walking around in a creative funk.  Cranking out the work for clients, but letting my own creative projects and interests fall by the too busy, too stressed, too responsible, too insert-your-affliction-of-choice-here wayside.

It’s creative malaise; I’m feeling uninspired.

Is it just me who suffers from this malady, or does the same thing happen to you?

If you’re a creative who makes a living providing creative services to others, do you become so uber-focused on client projects that your creative capital is spent by the time you’re ready to let your freak flag fly on your own projects?

For me those projects are photography and non-client-related writing.  But lately, not so much.

So I’ve been thinking about what it would take to liberate myself from this impasse and get my creative mojo back.  And I think I’ve found the answer:

“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London

The answer is finding creative inspiration in the everyday.  In the circadian rhythm of “normal” days. In the mundane, even. Because creativity is everywhere, sometimes you just have to remove the veil from your eyes to see it.

So my promise to myself is to actively seek out creative inspiration in my immediate surroundings, daily. In what I read, what I see, and what I experience.  And to find it in the far off yonder too.  I’ll look for it with a vengeance.  I’ll peek around corners for it. I’ll disappear down long hallways trying to find it. I’ll meditate on it.  I’ll ask the gods to visit it upon me.

And I’ll chronicle it here, in this new category on the blog called “The Daily Creative.”

I have no idea what this will end up looking like, could be boring as hell or wildly exciting, who knows?  But I won’t judge it, I’ll just be the conduit for whatever shows up and let it look like it wants to.

And you?

To all you creatives out there spinning your web of mad genius for clients during the day and finding the inspiration and the time for your own projects at night and on weekends (or wherever and whenever you find it), please weigh in here. Share your daily rituals, tips for staying in the creative flow, where and how you find inspiration, and especially, how you make the commitment to practicing your creative craft daily, even when there’s no one to invoice for it.

Please share in the comments below!