I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember. From the little girl who was writing poetry to express her emotions only to her diary, to the actress who discovered her craft at the age of 13. Without realizing it, I have always been a creative individual.
Now, as I am older and have made creativity part of my daily life and budding career, I have found myself searching for ways to inspire the creative process and get those artistic juices flowing. Rather than only waiting for inspiration to strike, I have had to climb up to the clouds and pull inspiration down from the heavens so that I could dance in the blissful rain of creativity.
Unfortunately it’s not always so easy (or poetic). Creativity can be a slippery minx, but luckily there are some tricks I’ve found along the way of how to induce the creative process. Whether you need to write a poem for your college class, write a new song so your label doesn’t drop you, or choreograph a dance for your next ballet class, there are ways to get past creativity blocks and get your work done without it feeling perfunctory.
Whether you’re an artist that needs some inspiration or you’re wanting to learn how to unlock more creativity, you’ve come to the right place. So put on your best, and silliest, hat as I walk you through five ways to tap into your creative expression.
5 Tips for Creativity
1. Just do it!
Oftentimes when we aren’t “feeling it,” we will just not do it. I know I am much more motivated and alive when I am inspired, but sometimes I don’t have that luxury. This is when I have to just sit down and get to it!
When it comes to writing poetry, I’m not always in the flow. Attending graduate school for poetry, however, forced me to be in the flow, or at least caused me to constantly jump in a river and hope it had some kind of movement. Through this I learned that maybe I’m not feeling inspired in the moment, but the act of creating eventually brought on a new energy, allowing me to tap into that creative expression.
Much like Nike tells us to “just do it,” there’s something to be said about forcing yourself to sit down and get to work. The mere act invites the creative gods to sprinkle you with some magic, whereas if you give up and watch Netflix, you don’t even have the chance to create something amazing, or anything at all.
Tapping into your creative expression can sometimes feel like a struggle; however, if you were to sit down and write ten poems, chances are by the 11th, you’ll have gotten into the flow. And even if the first ten aren’t very good, you can always go back and make edits when you’re feeling more inspired. Nothing is a wasted piece of art, it’s just a work-in-progress.
2. Partake in another type of creative expression.
Creativity is creativity, it’s this life-force energy that awakens the soul. If you are trying to write a song but can’t seem to think of anything, get up and dance. This will not only unlock the energy in the body, but it will help clear the mind of any stuck-ness.
Put on your favorite song and dance your head off like a wild maniac. Don’t worry what other people will think—a big killer of creativity. Allow yourself to be free and once you’ve danced to one song, or ten, try again to write that song of yours. Not only will you be inspired from listening to other music, but you’ll have freed up space in your head and body to allow that creativity to flow.
Now if you’re struggling to choreograph a dance number, sit down and write a poem. Stay in the realm of creative expression, but don’t stay so focused on your current artistic struggle.
This will work for all projects. When we feel stuck, such as having writer’s block, we need to remove ourselves from the situation and break away from that negative energy of trying to force something to happen. Chances are you’ll come back feeling refreshed and in a better mood.
3. Sit out in nature.
Nature is the source of life and the personification of creativity—everything works together so effortlessly and beautifully. Staring at a sunset will no doubt evoke feelings inside that can be put into a poem, just like watching the tirelessness of ants could inspire some lyrics about the need for devotion in life and love.
When I wrote my poetry book, Common Ground, I spent hours sitting outside, looking at the lake and watching the rippling effect of the reflections of trees and birds that flew low enough to glitter in the mirror of water. I allowed the inherent spell of nature’s entrancing beauty overwhelm me and inspire me.
Spending a day at the park, just observing and making notes in your journal can be the best brainstorming sesh around. Not only will you be able to find peace from the beauty that surrounds you, but you might find some interesting subject matter walking hand-in-hand or kicking a ball around.
4. Open up the senses.
Creative expression and art are widely appreciated not for their cerebral nature (although this can be an added bonus) but for the way they make us feel. And in order to make someone feel something, they must unleash the senses.
When I was in Prague, a friend of mine and I went to a classical music concert tucked away in one of their narrow cobblestoned alleyways. The ticket was cheap and there were few attendees, probably because it was middle of the day at a less prestigious venue, but the effect on me was still magical.
I cried as I listened to the strings whistle their notes with care and as I heard that clarinet move through the staff with dexterity and finesse. The feeling that it evoked in me brought me to tears. That’s the gift of art. It touches on a deeper part than the brain; it hits our hearts as we welcome in the sensory stimulation.
Bring your senses to life with an aromatherapy bath or enjoying a flavorful meal with your eyes closed. Invigorating the senses grounds you into your body, bringing you away from that noisy head full of doubts and "shoulds." Let the experience take you over, getting lost in feelings, and then create from there.
5. Forget about others.
One of the biggest killers of creativity, as I stated earlier, is caring too much what other people think. This will block the creative energy from flowing because the brain will allow fears to encroach whatever it is you’re trying to create.
I do believe art that is made for others should keep the value in mind of helping people, but there’s a difference between pandering and offering. If we get right with our hearts and not our egos, we can offer something truly valuable to the world.
Art is subjective, so don’t worry about mainstream—even if you are mainstream. The people who need your message or art will find it.
The ebb and flow of creativity
Even as I wrote this article, I found myself taking several brief breaks away from it, mostly to pee, but also to come back with fresh eyes. Allowing space in the mind allows space for creativity to come in and flow.
Think of creative expression like water. You need to provide a container in order to hold it, but it looks the most beautiful and alive when it has the ability to move.
You can use the above five tips to tap into your creative expression when you’re creating art, or when you have a big presentation coming up at work. Creativity isn’t just about tangible works of art, it’s about allowing the creative energy to flow and adapt.
Be like water, not like mud. One is more fun in a mud fight, but the other has the ability to cleanse, refresh, and sustain life.
Brittany Noelle Roa is an interdisciplinary artist with an MFA in Physical Theatre who uses her art and creativity to heal herself and others. She loves learning about health and wellness so she can optimize her human potential to live a full and happy life.