When do you feel the most creative?
I’ve been pondering this question, and my mind wanders a couple different routes.
There are times when I am in a brainstorming group setting, and I love the ideas that Ping-Pong about the room. It’s fun to build energy off of others’ ideas. It’s helpful in many projects and can save time as many creative minds come together to make a certain idea better.
But then I started to think about the word creativity. It’s defined online as “the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.” I’ve been stuck on the phrase “original ideas” for a little while now.
What does it take for me to be creative in an original way—not just piggybacking off of someone else’s thought or idea, but to actually sit and be creative?
My favorite way to be creative is with music. I love to listen to, sing, write, play, and arrange music. It’s an obsession that I am totally ok with in my life. (Hopefully my roommate is ok with it too…because approximately 90% of the words out of my mouth are sung when I’m at home.) When I think about the times I am most creative with writing original music, it often involves the following:
- Spending time dinking around on the piano: The best songs I’ve written come from no agenda, no rush, and sometimes no seriousness—to begin with, at least. I remember sitting down at the piano one rainy summer day in my home state of Oregon, and I was so bummed that it wasn’t sunny outside, I just started playing a silly set of chords and sang out to my mom some mumbo jumbo about the rain in June. I ended up writing a full-on song about it, and it’s quite catchy if I do say so myself. It even includes a metaphorical undertone of sorts. The main point I’d like to share from this is: spend relaxed time doing the creative things you love. You may find inspiration comes when you’re not in a rush to get results.
- Thinking about a certain intriguing topic or phrase: I like to analyze things. This is good and bad, since it leads to a chronic case of over-analyzing many things in life. But if I’ve been thinking about a certain topic for a while, chances are it will interest others as well. Don’t be afraid to expand on certain ideas that interest you. You might have a unique perspective to share.
- Placing myself in the right setting: I’ll admit this one might be a bit ridiculous. I’m kind of weird about music in that I like to be completely alone when I’m writing something new. I don’t just mean closing the door to my room—I mean I have to be the only one in the house. I remember during summers as a middle school-aged kid when my mom was the last one out the door for work, that’s when I would scurry to the family room piano and start my jam session—party of one. I think the atmosphere you work in really does affect your creativity, so be sure to find out where you work best, and then place yourself in the right setting in order to get those creative juices flowing…as they say.
I’m realizing that I would love to be able to spend hours and hours being that kind of creative everyday, but let’s be honest. That’s not realistic on a daily basis. I can’t count on being able to kick everyone out of the house, spend countless hours playing the piano, and think through life’s mysteries everyday. What can I do?
Here is the challenge I’m giving myself (and you) in order to be originally creative each day, or at least on the days when I can’t go be Mozart:
Take some time everyday to write something down. Anything! It can be a song lyric idea, an observation about the day, a funny story (except I’m awful at telling stories…ask anyone who knows me), etc. But the challenge is—you can’t write down someone else’s words or ideas. They have to be your own. You can build off of an inspiring quote if you’d like, but make sure you add to it something from your own creative mind.
Enjoy all the ways you can be originally creative.
Maybe your creative work will be the building blocks of inspiration for artists around you!