Sometimes when you’re feeling creatively stuck, you’re trying to work on your art but keep procrastinating or lack motivation, and doing something similar but different can help get those creative juices flowing. Or not. But as an artist, you feel more fulfilled and successful at life in general when you get that creative buzz going, right? When you create something new that didn’t exist before. When you pull from that well within yourself and uncover some jewels: fascinating, interesting, beautiful, clever… When you at least made something!
When I say “non-artsy”, I mean ways that don’t involve drawing, painting, sculpting, or any artistic practice that involves a lot of patience and skill. A break from traditional fine art mediums. Some of the ways I’ve outlined below are indeed artsy, but they’re a little more entry-level, take less time, or typically have less pressure.
How to get creative in non-artsy ways:
Go to a new place just to see what’s there. Wander a neighborhood that isn’t yours. Switch up your surroundings. Go get coffee, lunch, or a cookie at a place you’ve never been. Scavenger hunt for a specific brand of potato chips. Go sit someplace busy and people-watch. Try on a different personality, pretend you’re a celebrity in hiding or an important businesswoman who nobody knows. Try to blend in, or try to stand out. Make it your mission to talk to 3 strangers, or make it your goal to not speak a word to anyone. Your eyes and mind will be stimulated by the change-up. Your heart will get a rush from the unknown. It may not be the most creative activity, but it can help jumpstart something creative. Your subconscious will take in all the new stimulation and pop out something unique later. Just give it time.
Bake, make a sandwich, meal prep for the week, saute, fry, whatever. Work from a recipe or don’t. A kitchen is like an art studio: raw materials that require manipulation to become something new and better. Making a whim is a tricky way of being creative. You have purpose in the kitchen (gotta eat!) and drive (hunger!). You know when you’re done, and you get to instantly enjoy the fruits of your labor. And unless you’re cooking for someone else too, it doesn’t matter how your work turns out. You’re your only critic.
Do your makeup
Get creative with a different palette: your eyeshadow palette. Or your lip palette, your bronzer, or whatever. Paint up your face. Get weird with it, or don’t. Try something new, or do your same old. Doing your makeup gets your hands moving, gets your brain thinking and problem solving in a creative way. You get to call the shots, and make the call on “is this too much? is the shadowing right? is it balanced? need more highlights?” Makeup is like painting, but with a different purpose.
Yes, writing is art. And if it’s your chosen art form, then this isn’t really a break from the norm. But sometimes when I feel stuck, I try artsy writing. I don’t know the official term for it, but it’s kind of like poetry without rhyming. I try to be descriptive, and almost like fantasy. Make everything sound dramatic and beautiful, like it’s a movie. Here’s an example:
this morning is sunny. our apartment is flooded with light. the sheer curtains casting dusty shadows on the drawers, the vertical blinds open but making stripes on the carpet. my monitor is in direct sunlight; if i were on my computer i’d have to rotate the blinds and block the light so i could see. but i’m on my laptop, on the futon. heart pillow under the keys. my toes just under the coffee table. jar of water, nearly full. double-walled tea mug of brewing tea, a teabag of twinings green. a tiny tupperware to catch the bag. at breakfast we scarfed down cereal with fruit. poured out black tea from the teapot in intervals...
Photograph is definitely an art form, but casual photography can also be freeing. Try knolling the items on your desk as a way to clean up your clutter. (Knolling = arranging neatly in a grid) Or gather objects around your home of similar colors for a creatively colorful photo. Don’t think too much about getting it right. Snap the photo and be done with it. Experiment as much as you want; anything you do is creative and that’s the point.
Instead of getting your hands moving to create a drawing or painting, try collaging. Physically or digitally. Look through magazines or pinterest and collect images on a certain theme. Put them together to make a moodboard. You’ll be surprised how fun it can be, without being too challenging. You can’t get it wrong; you can make a moodboard on any topic or vibe you want. I’m all about back to school right now.
Layer on the jewelry, or try a new outfit combo you’ve never seen yourself in before. If you’re already dressed or not into your current wardrobe, try planning out your style. This could include completing a workbook to define your personal style, creating moodboards to discover your style, or watching youtube videos about minimal or capsule wardrobes.
Just remember that it’s important to change up your routine once in awhile, especially if you’re feeling creatively stuck. Our art comes from our lives, so if it feels like the well is dry, it might be time to refill with more life stuff. Or at least it’s time to eat :)