How to be creative

I have always been a creative person. A great many years of enjoyable art classes at school, followed by a year at art college and then a partly creative university degree has left me with a useful framework around which to organise the creative process, and a wealth of knowledge of techniques, processes and art history to further inspire and assist. However, finding the most appropriate outlet for my ideas and also the motivation to see it through has always been tricky, especially since I left full-time education. Sometimes I’m inspired by things I see and people I speak to, coming up with lots of wonderful ideas for creative projects, and then nothing happens for months and I forget about them. It’s good to know that this happens to everyone though, and even those you admire can sometimes get stuck along the way.

Recently I’ve been talking to Rachael about ideas, designing and the creative process. She has a whole host of partially formed footwear designs swirling around in her brain and we’ve been trying to work out the best way to get them out. The first step is often to remove the hurdles, so large sketchbooks that you’re reluctant to carry around all day are out, and setting yourself deadlines is a must. Even if it’s just a matter of saying to yourself that you’re going to have something to show a friend by the next time you meet them for drinks – make sure you tell them this and you’ll no doubt want to avoid the guilty feeling that comes along with saying you’ve done nothing!

After that, you’ll need to get some research done. This part can be lots of fun, but don’t get distracted. You can find plenty of useful stuff to inspire creative projects online, but two-dimensional images are often not enough (and there are an awful lot of distractions when you’re sat in front of a computer!), so go to galleries, museums, shops and shows. Whatever best fits your creative area, get out there and actually see something that relates to it. Take your sketchbook and jot things down wherever you can. After a while, that little book will become the most amazing reference point for forming your ideas and finding an end point to your project.

Don’t let this be where it tails off though. Set yourself tasks that need to be done to get your project finished, and make sure you actually do them. Tell as many people as possible so they’ll ask you how it’s going and you’ll want to have a decent response. Learn how to use that graphics software, find suppliers for your fabrics, go to that life drawing class, source the perfect yarn, sort out the music for your performance… whatever your project is, stop checking your email or watching television and get the hell on with it! If necessary, get together with a group of friends where you all discuss your creative projects as this will help to keep you motivated. Just think how satisfied you’ll feel when it’s finished, eh?

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  1. Great post! I struggle with these same creative hurdles… as most creative people do (which as you say, is good to know).

    One of the best pieces of advice I've ever been given is to treat the deadlines you give yourself with the same respect you'd treat the deadlines given to you by an employer or someone you look up to. It's easy to put one's own creative projects at the bottom of the priority pile, but that needs to change!

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