One of the hardest battle any of us will fight is the battle for creativity. Countless books have no doubt been written about the war of making art, and many more will be written in the future.
It will never be easy to be a creator.
I’m noticing this, as my subscriber count has skyrocketed over the last few weeks. The Art of Being Minimalist just keeps selling a number of copies every day. But, with all of this attention comes an added pressure.
It will always be easier to write for your one adoring fan. It will always be harder to write for a larger audience. To stand on this Internet stage, my blog, and project new ideas into the ether day after day, is difficult.
The battle for creativity.
I have no doubt that you’ve fought this creative battle too. We all have. The bravest of us choose to fight what Seth Godin calls ‘The Resistance‘ every day.
This is a battle worth winning, and one that you should never give up fighting.
The world has a surplus of mediocre people who are unwilling to take on this challenge, and a great need for artists who will take up the call to create greatness.
But there will be times when you don’t feel like fighting anymore, when it’d just too challenging. During those times you must keep fighting. You must keep creating.
For what other good reason is there to live but to make greatness every day?
For this reason I’ve developed a series of strategies to stimulate my own creativity, I hope they can help you with your own creative battles.
14 ways to stimulate creativity and banish the resistance.
- Change your surroundings. Sometimes you can just get bored of working at your same desk every day. That’s okay! Go work somewhere new. Maybe this is the back porch, or perhaps it is the coffee shop. A change of location can do wonders for your creativity.
- Turn off all distractions. I speak or this often: work doesn’t happen on social networking or email. Turn these off. Hitting the refresh button on your email won’t stimulate ideas.
- Ignore the metrics. Sometimes we try to constantly evaluate our success. How good did I do today? Ignore your success, it will still be there when you find it, trust me. Don’t count your blog hits or how many people answer your emails. None of that is as important as creating good work.
- Give yourself no other choice. This won’t be a good idea for everyone, but sometimes my best creative moments come when I have no other choice. For instance, I jumped onto a plane to Portland with no job lined up and no expectation of success, I came back with an idea for an e-book.
- Go for a walking meditation. Leave your cell phone, leave your to do list, and just go for a walk. Walk slowly and with no destination. Be aware of the pace of your feet. Look at the trees. Watch the people. Smile. Breathe. This can be very relaxing, and is worth daily practice.
- Cancel all obligations. Stop being so busy, you’re distracting yourself from the real work. Take out your meeting planner, put it in a bucket, and burn it. Delete your Google Calendar. Good, now you have nowhere to be, perhaps now you can get some real work done.
- Ignore the critics. If you’re brave enough to make a powerful work, you will inevitably attract attention. With this attention comes the critics. You know them, these are the obsessively negative people who’s only mission in life is to tear you down. Ignore them, block them, do anything in your power to stop them from entering your consciousness.
- Get some exercise. Practice Yoga, go for a run, go to the gym. A lot of toxins build up in our system as we interact with the world, exercise is the single best way to cleanse your body, release stress, and center yourself.
- Drink a tea or coffee. Take 15 minutes to make a tea or coffee. Make every action you take have intention –a beginning, middle, and end. Be aware of every action you take. Breathe. Then sit and just drink your coffee or tea — no, don’t check your email — just drink until you are done. This is a very rewarding experience.
- Take an hour to cook a meal. I find cooking very relaxing, so when I’m having trouble stimulating my creativity, I’ll take an hour break to make a good meal. Don’t just microwave something, that won’t help. Prepare this meal with fresh ingredients from the market. It will taste good, and give you energy.
- Allow yourself to have bad ideas. It’s okay to pop out a junker once in awhile. There is always the idea that every idea must be better than the next, but that isn’t always true. Let go of your expectations and just make something. Who cares if it’s not the best thing you’ve ever made in your lifetime. It’s something, and that’s more than most people are making.
- Read a good book. Many books are filled with good ideas that will stimulate your own idea flow. Take some time and just read. If you’re interested, take a look at what books I’m reading now — I’m reading a book a week in 2010. Sit down, pick up a good book, and just read. Have no other expectations for yourself.
- Give yourself some time off. Maybe today you’re just not going to make anything. That’s okay, give yourself permission to take some time off. Go watch a movie, go walk in the park. We are so hard on ourselves all the time, I know I am. It’s okay to take a moment and just breathe in and out and exist without the pressure of making.
- Just start creating. Sometimes the act of creating can stimulate creativity. Isaac Asimov wrote over 500 books in his life, just by sitting his butt in a chair and starting to write – he did this every day. It doesn’t matter if what you’re creating is junk, the simple act of creating can start the creative juices flowing.
How do you get the creative juices flowing?
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