This is a long post, so you may want to grab a cup of tea (or your favorite brew) and settle down. It’s now clear that creativity isn’t just the territory of artists and writers or something to do only with the arts. Instead it’s defined as the ability to come up with new ideas and see connections where there don’t seem to be any. Which is exciting because that means all of us are creative. I grew up thinking I wasn’t creative because I was never the ‘arts and crafts’ type. I sucked at drawing; my craft projects looked nothing like they were meant to, and my sewing teacher (we had a sewing class that was compulsory for girls) never understood that I really, really tried. There was one thing I did though – I always cut out pictures from magazine and greeting cards. I put together collages out of these and stuck them in my journals. I even gave these picture books as gifts. But that was just cutting and gluing paper and I, and everybody else, never really thought that I was creative. Fast forward to my 30’s- I started a blog, and that meant taking pictures to go with my posts. Suddenly, it was as if I had been given the secret to the universe. The time spent behind the camera lens was special- it was meditative, and it allowed me to experience a special joy when different colors, prints and patterns came together. I loved blending colors and textures. I loved being able to capture one moment for posterity. Sure, my early attempts weren’t great, but I loved it and so I kept on taking photos. And because it gave me an immense amount of joy to be behind the camera, I did quite a lot of product photography for businesses at no charge. This gave me plenty of practice and I got pretty good at it. Picking up the camera and taking pictures also became the one sure way to become inspired or recharge my creative batteries.
All of us have felt uninspired at one time or the other. Sometimes, it lasts for a short while and you emerge though the tunnel quickly, while at other times, you just feel stuck. To me, it feels like one of those Boomerang app videos where you lift your leg to take a step but you put it down, and repeat ad nauseam. You want to move ahead but you can’t seem to. Sometimes it’s not even being uninspired. Instead you are paralyzed by your thoughts- should you, shouldnt you. What do you do in those times? Are there certain go-to actions that you take to become unstuck? I want to share with you what works for me. I follow a mantra of muse, meditate and move forward. First, identify what tool you use to relax. For some people, it’s a notepad or journal that they can doodle or write in; for others it can be a walk or run in the park. Or, maybe like me, you prefer a camera or to cut pictures out of a magazine. It can be any number of different things; there are as many ways as there are people. What is key is you take time out of your day to pursue it and even a few minutes can be helpful. Use it as a meditative exercise to quieten your mind. When I don’t know what to write or when I am constantly questioning should I/ should I not, I find that after a few minutes of focusing behind the lens, my mind is quieter and the next step becomes clearer. Maybe the whole path isn’t visible, but the next step is. – Priya
Images credit: Studio OUATT.
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