I may not be a full time illustrator or graphic designer, but I think you could consider me kind of a creative person. I write full-time here at Gravitate; I dabble in photography; I’ve done work on the side as a graphic designer; I fully designed the look of my blog and continue to design graphics for it on a regular basis. And while the majority of what I do on a day-to-day basis doesn’t exactly require a heavy dose of creativity, I do come into contact with creative work enough that I’ve had to figure out the answer to this important question: can you nurture creativity? I see creatives ask themselves that question often. “How do I become a more creative person?” “How do I fuel my creativity?” “How do I get inspiration to come when it simply isn’t coming to me?”
Some people are definitely more innately creative than others, but I think that there is a lot that we can do to become all-around more creative people. Here are some of the things that I’ve seen help nurture my own creativity and make me an overall more creative person.
Surround yourself with creative people.
There was a time not too long ago when I was interning with a paper crafting magazine and simultaneously working for an extremely artistic blogger as a project assistant. I was learning a ton about the worlds of card making and scrapbooking, helping photograph some amazing projects for a blog, and even assisting in photo shoots for a kids’ crafting book. Looking back, I think that season was definitely the most creative season of my life thus far. I was surrounded by some incredibly talented people on a regular basis, and I could almost feel their creative spirits fueling my own creativity. It’s kinda neat how the right people can do that. So I would say that if you want to nurture your own creativity, surround yourself with people who have really harnessed their own.
Follow creatives on social media.
On a similar note, you can also surround yourself with creative people by means of social media. Find people who inspire you on Pinterest and Instagram, and follow them. Look at the things they post, and think about why they posted them. What beauty did that photographer find in that simple photo of a door? What is it about this magazine cover that that designer likes? I’ve found that following certain people who have a taste that is similar to my own has really helped me to develop my own unique style.
Oh, the number of times you’ll hear the word “collaborate” in the blogging realm. But sick of it or not, there is power in collaboration. Collaborating with others who jive with you creatively really has a way of taking your own creativity and pushing it further. Just as teamwork is crucial in the world of business for furthering innovation (business’s word for creativity, in my book), collaboration works wonders on the creative mind. Sit down and toss around ideas with some other creative peeps like yourself and watch the magic happen.
Have a creative outlet.
You also need some sort of outlet that you can always go to for some “no pressure” creative work. Something fun. Something that will teach you design concepts along the way. Something that helps you develop your artistic edge without having to face the demands of deadlines or building your portfolio. Mine, for example, is blogging. I’d recommend this as a creative outlet to anyone because it’s so versatile. And then I have photography as well. It’s so nice to take my camera out sometimes and marvel at some of the shots I get—without feeling like everything I create has to be amazing.
Hone your artistic “eye.”
This one is hard to explain, but it relates to what I just said about photography. Look for hobbies and lifestyle changes you can make which will help you see the world in a more artistic way. With photography, for example, I find myself looking for things that would make good photos without even meaning to—a beautiful door or the ribbed shadow created by open blinds, for example. For you, that might mean reading more, listening to TED talks about creativity, or taking up painting.