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Bridget Nielsen

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4 Ways to Awaken Your Creativity

Posted: 03/28/2012 7:32 am

Our culture does a very good job of pounding the living "creativity" out of us. Many of the forms of practicing our "creator" expressions such as art or music have been cut in schools. If you did have the opportunity to be in an art class, the D- on your paper collage project likely tattooed "complete creative failure" in your mind forever. In addition, we live in an overstimulated society with electronics buzzing us to the point where our own inspiration malfunctions when it is needed. We're constantly interrupted by texts, calls, Facebook, meetings, emails, etc. It's quite obvious why moments of insight or tangential thoughts that lead to a wave of inspiration have died or are blocked. Not to mention, there's somewhere else that you're always meant to be, something more important that you're meant to be doing... right?

The only reason I realized I had artistic skills was ironically due to my "go go go" desire at the time to get tons of AP college credit in high school. Even after I acknowledged my talent, I had years of unsupportive teachers and a culture saying you can't make money as an artist. I didn't buy into it... I knew it was possible. That is a belief of the past, and I am now fully supported by my art!

Due to my love and excitement for creating, I began teaching watercolor workshops where we fully let go of the mind and channel through whatever medium expresses how we feel and what inspires us. In the beginning, I had lots of people who said, "I don't know! I'm so NOT an artist. I encourage others to attend though." I was dumbstruck by this comment. As an artist I hadn't realized that others see themselves as having zero artistic talent and little desire to try, likely due to fear. That was it -- the real inspiration for the painting workshops turned into awakening people's inner artist or unblocking them in whatever their specific medium of expression is. Outside of the classroom and in everyday life, here are four things I've found helpful to get in the zone, be inspired, and remember that you're an artist!

1. Not Feeling It, Don't Do It!
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It is completely pointless to sit down and force yourself to do something you don't want to do. That is your left brain making an appointment for your right brain, who has no concept of time, have tos, or deadlines. I'm not saying that you can delete that time slot on your calendar and go to the beach... or am I? We can't perceive or experience what we're closed off to or resisting (obviously), so if you feel blocked then you are. The key is opening the door to creativity by inviting in curiosity and doing things that awaken the energy of excitement to keep things open and flowing.

You may be thinking, I don't have the luxury to do that. Here's your solution... When I was a campaign creator (at DBA Worldwide) with clients such as Disney and Warner Bros., weekly situations arose where we'd get a last-minute opportunity to create an enticing campaign and pitch it the next day! On many occasions I'd get into creative mode by doing something fun and exciting that aligned with whatever we were creating... I would go to the kids section at the bookstore or go for a bike ride. In company meetings I'd incorporate crayons, markers, or whiteboards for brainstorms because now you're having fun, and it's no longer "work!" On these "breaks" for inspiration be open to new ways ideas can appear: a person uniquely dressed, a phrase overheard in a conversation, or any extraneous occurrence that triggers a vein of creative gold.

Flickr photo by Rennet Stowe

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