Welcome to the third and final part of ’33 Ways to Stay Creative’! Here are numbers 26 to 33.
26. Don’t force it.
I guess this in reference to the times where you don’t have any of your wonderful muses to do the inspiration part for you, which is a situation everyone is probably familiar with. We all have to accept that if we want to do something amazing, it’s not necessarily going to be a masterpiece from the very beginning. It might not even seem like something with great potential. If we could force ourselves to have amazing ideas, then everyone would have them and we wouldn’t be worrying about how to be creative.
27. Read a page of the dictionary.
This is the last random one in the list. I don’t particularly see any correlation between simply knowing a lot of words and being creative. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always in support of expanding anyone’s vocabulary, and it can be useful if your creative hobby of choice is writing, but it doesn’t necessarily instantly make you a creative person. I wanted to try this exercise, but since I don’t have a physical paperback copy of any English dictionary with me I decided to go with whatever the word of the day was on the ‘dictionary.com’ website.
Here it is: whirligig.
If you decide to look it up it’s actually a more interesting word than it seems at first, but I don’t think I’ll be writing about whirligigs any time soon.
28. Create a framework.
When I first read this I wasn’t sure what it meant exactly. For some reason, the first image that came to mind was of monkey bars in a playground. On a more serious note, it also reminds me of the many writing exercises that are out there for when you’re lacking inspiration. As I’ve mentioned before, each creative medium seems to have a basic set of rules that are useful to know but not necessarily always essential. If you’re lost on what to do, pick some rules that you find interesting and try sticking to them. I tried this once by doing a bit of research into the basic structure or rules of fairytales. As a result I found some amazing tools I could work with to start writing a story from scratch.
29. Stop trying to be someone else’s perfect.
In this case, I can’t help but think of a time when someone told me that the desire to be creative has a lot to do with narcissism. Whether you agree with that or not, being creative does tend to induce a sense of vulnerability, since in our heart of hearts we are usually hoping for a satisfactory level of recognition from our creative projects. The danger is that we might simply emulate the ideas from others that we admire or from those who are already popular. This is not to criticise the act of “borrowing” in creative terms, but if we completely change who we are and what we do in trying to gain that response to satisfy our creative egos, then you may find you reach a dead end very quickly. It is hard to be creative when your ideas are not your own.
30. Got an idea? Write it down. (a.k.a Number 2: Carry a notebook everywhere)
Ah repetition. This list is full of it! But if you were to take away anything from this list, this would be the easiest one to start with. Write down your ideas, no matter how terrible they seem. If they don’t turn out to be useful, you’ll at least be able to laugh at them later.
31. Clean your workspace.
I tend to live in a state of “half-mess” that tilts between the modes of “artistic mess” and “junk jungle” depending on what’s going on in my life at the time. Sometimes it’s good to take a bit of time out to actually tidy up the workspace so you have room to think and act on your ideas.
32. Have fun.
If I had to award a prize for the most obvious point of all on this list, it would be this one. Being creative should be fun. If you’re no longer enjoying what you’re working on, then you might have to look again at why you started it on the first place. (Perhaps it’s a case of #29?)
33. Finish something
I recently went to an amazing careers talk by Charles Griffiths (Game Designer) about working in the games industry, who particularly mentioned that it’s important to have something finished. Granted, this was in the context of creating a portfolio of work so you have something to show when applying to any of the positions in the games industry. However, this could be said for all creative projects in general. If you have something completed, it can be beneficial even if what you’re creating is only for your own amusement. Afterwards you can have something completed, which can give you a much better understanding of what your ideas look like in reality… and also the bragging rights of having seen it through to the end.