Creativity; it can feel so elusive. At times, when you need it most, it’s almost like it’s hiding from you. You call out for it but, the longer you do, the further away it seems. If that’s not frustrating, I don’t know what is.
I want to make it clear that I’ve walked a mile in those shoes. I’ve spent time banging my head against a proverbial wall for an idea that just doesn’t seem like it wants to come.
But, as time has passed, I’ve learned tricks and tools to defeat creativity blocks. How do I pull that off? By following my joy. And it’s a technique you can use, too.
If you find yourself stymied, here’s what you can do to find your flavor of creativity, no matter where it’s hiding.
The 2-Step Process
For Following Your Joy to Find Your Creativity
Step 1: Make a List of What Delights You
Inspiration often comes from things we adore. At times, it’s a direct process. You think about something you love, and you’re suddenly moved to create something based on it.
However, it can also be indirect. When you envision the things that delight you, you adjust your mindset. For me, it’s not unlike taking a trip to my happy place, leaving me enveloped in a sense of warmth, comfort, and peace.
What do I mean? Well, to help you picture the process, here’s a look at the list I came up with when I took on this exercise:
· Manti, my amazing dog with a saggy little mouth and the softest, velvety skin on his chine
· Puppies, particularly those little damp hairs that stick up after their mama cleans their little heads
· The soft, velvety noses of horses and donkeys
· Soft breezes that bring with them the aromas of the area, whether that be summer flowers, salty seas, nearby restaurants, or even burnt trash
· That taste of salt you get after a great run
· Purple pens (thanks, Elizabeth Gilbert!)
· That first cup of coffee I have in the morning
· My husband Tim’s stubbly skin
· The feeling of nuzzling Tim’s neck
· Birds singing their hearts out in Central Park
· All of the shade of green in the trees
· The scent of wet soil
· How freeing it is to breeze fresh air
· How my legs feel after a sprint
· The connection to nature I experience when skiing
· The magical silence that descends when it’s snowing
As I wrote that list, you know what I felt? Pure joy. That’s a pretty good place for creativity to start.
Step 2: Revel in the Gratitude
Once you have a list, relish it. Let yourself live in those little happy places, even if just briefly. And, as you do, keep your mind and heart open to creative desires. Give yourself permission to daydream, allowing your thoughts to flow. As you do, you’ll feel the tug of inspiration. Follow it. Journal about it. Explore it.
For me, my list created a spark. I felt the urge to write about the silence that comes with snow. I wanted to start with a poem and then potentially create some music to go with it as it flows, potentially leading to a song.
When you create your list, listen to those little voices, those intuitive urges that ignite your being with a warm glow. Then, follow them. Take your emotional response and consider how you can express it in art.
The goal isn’t to create a masterpiece immediately. Instead it’s about exploring your pleasures, harnessing your joy to find your flavor of creativity. That’s how you identify your creative gifts. Follow your joy and let it guide you. In the end, it will put you on the path toward a greater journey, as it did for me.