Tuesday, July 08, 2008

How to be creative

If you’re a writer, you might spend time analyzing Sexton or Dostoevsky or Hemingway to find new angles to your craft. Painters may study Monet or Picasso or Dali. Nothing wrong with that, but the best way to be inspired is to utilize your life experiences and passions.

The title of this article is somewhat deceptive, because there are no rules on how to be creative. This is not an instruction manual, but a starting point.

Tip #1: My favorite way to be inspired is with a camera. I like nondigital cameras because they prevent you from censoring yourself- you can’t quickly delete something because you don’t like it; you are stuck with what you’ve got. Spend a day wandering through your town and taking pictures of whatever pleases your eye- whether it is nature, people or man-made objects. After developing your photos, take a look at common elements to find your voice. If you’re not much of a visual person, I love recorders that attach to iPods. You can do the same thing- look around for interesting sounds.

The five people every artist should know

1) The Wild One

This is someone who will push you to the limit. They believe that you have amazing potential and won’t let you waste it. They’ll try to convince you to audition for Broadway or travel to India so you can write better poetry. You can’t take everything they say literally, but let them inspire you to do things outside of your comfort zone.

2) The Ideal

This is someone who encompasses everything you want to be, creatively speaking. In terms of blogging, for me this is Gala Darling- she’s great at balancing being a compassionate advice giver with being a crazy, wild fashionista. She writes about life as a whole, but never seems too broad because she has such a distinct outlook.

3) The Honest One

This is someone who is incapable of giving you B.S. If your latest poem is downright bad, they’ll let you know. Ideally this is someone who is knowledgeable about your art medium and presents any criticism in a constructive, but direct, way.

4) The Foil

This is someone who holds opposing views to your own. If you like being a minimalist fashionista (yes, fashion is art!), maybe you subscribe to a magazine that has tons of overly glamorous models. The point is to challenge why you hold your artistic views and inspire you to sometimes head in directions that go a bit against your instinct.

5) The Unconditional Friend

Your poems aren’t selling or you’ve been injured and can’t dance for a few weeks. Who’s going to be there for you with the hugs and quart of ice cream? Your closest friend, one who doesn’t value you based on your successes, but on who you are. (Cheesy, yes. But get over it.)

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