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Okay so let’s chat. Is anyone else tired of creating for social media’s sake?! I feel more so than ever that I am feeling burnt out from creating within the limits and adhering to algorithms. Creating used to be so pure (anyone else remember how terrible DIY tutorial photos were 7 years ago?!), but now everything tends to feel a bit formulaic.
I’m trying my best to get back to that state of creating for fun instead of for likes. To help me do that, I picked up a copy of Creativity Takes Courage by Irene Smit and
Astrid Van der Hulst, the co-founders of Flow Magazine. Not only is it a book about creativity, but it’s also packed with prompts, tips and fun challenges to help you stretch those creative muscles.
The book is organized around a series of twelve “dares”—intended to break you out of your usual habits and approach to creating, and to give you a fresh perspective and leave your comfort zone. Here are just a few of the tips I picked up for recharging creatively:
Embrace failure. It’s a lot easier to let loose and just to create when you aren’t hyper focused on the end result coming out perfect. It’s totally okay to fail, and in fact, it’s what will push you to do better.
Tiny goals go a long way. Sometimes all it takes to complete a task is to set small, achieveable goals. You don’t have to do everything all at once, it’s okay to chip away piece by piece. Small steps add up.
Take care of yourself. Sleep more. Drink water. Eat a vegetable every now and then. It’s hard to be the best when you aren’t feeling the best, so respect your body. It seems so obvious but I know for certain many of us aren’t doing this because of how much work there is to do.
Get offline. There’s so much noise in the world, it’s hard to focus and produce when we’re swamped with other voices. Get offline, put your phone away and spend time with just you and your craft. Give your art your undivided attention.
Try collaborating. If you’re feeling really stuck, try working with a partner on a project. They’ll give you new perspective and elevate your work to a place that you may have not even knew existed.
With all of these tips in mind, I decided to do something I haven’t done in a while, which is to create just for creative’s sake. I used a postcard that comes with the book as my base inspiration, grabbed items from around my home, and decided to do a mini photo series.
First I watercolored the backdrop to make the matches pop a little more and to give a bit more texture. I typically shoot on white, so this was a nice change of pace. I then just played around with the matches until finding a few color configurations that I found interesting, took the shot, edited and that’s it!
And I must say, it was nice to create just for the sake of creating. There was no pressure for it to fit perfectly within a grid and I didn’t have to think of whether it was on brand or not, all I needed to focus on was the skill of photography. The satisfaction I got from letting loose is making me think I need to schedule this type of activity in my calendar once a month.