7 Ways To Find Your Creative Mojo
When you’re a creative person, finding inspiration everyday comes easily. Or, not?
For many of us, whether we’re a stitcher, yarnie, paperist, upcyclist, crafter, writer, musician, artist, sculptor, calligrapher, baker, photographer, stylist or designer—sometimes finding our inspiration goes out the window at times and our soul feels empty for periods on end. Here’s 7 Ways To Find Your Creative Mojo
Lately I seemed to have lost my way. That inexplicable, unexplainable, unfathomable void in my inner man is a surefire signal that my creative juices have dried up like a cratered desert. It means I’ve just lost my mojo to create and there could be no worse feeling than the parts of me who is the writer, blogger, baker and maker.
I don’t know about you but I was starting to think that maybe I should document my griefs to take advantage of the widespread fame of a certain bestselling title. Maybe I could call my new book ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Finding My Lost Mojo In The Galaxy’. No it wasn’t meant to be even funny; I think it was becoming rather serious—this ‘not feeling very inspired at all’ affliction.
I don’t know if it was burn out but I was convinced it has to do with ‘doing more and more’ in order to feel productive and effective. I’d forgotten that creatives need time out to play, dream and zone out to feed our inspiration to create. When I get like this I know I need to just ‘play’ and not view whatever I did as work. I also knew I had to worry less about whether everything I wrote or made needed to be adored by someone else.
Have you ever pondered and chewed your pencil-spatula-camera-paintbrush-needle-etc on this? That maybe, just maybe, us creatives need to create for themselves and not worry about doing it for their would-be audience. Lately I read an article for writers about writing to please the writer and less of the reader. I can’t believe the results. I then chose to apply the same principle to my various arts this week and I can’t believe this strange philosophy really, really works for me. I ended up writing a thousand more words that day, and I still liked what I wrote the next day.
How did I find my mojo again? Here’s some of the few things I did.
1. FOOL AROUND & FORGET SERIOUS.
The first step that helped me trigger my lost creative juices began with fooling around with a simple list (photographed here). Yes. That would be my ‘Things To Do’ list. Rather than the blah blah blah of all the chores and tasks I needed to accomplish each day, I decided to have a bit of unbridled fun with a few of my favourite stamps from my studio. The list was for me when no one was looking. The list was not about doing but for ‘being’.
This was what I ended up with:
Wake Up And Live
Dream Like A Unicorn
Be THE BEST
Dance Like No One’s Watching
Sing Like No One’s Listening
MUST DO: SMILE
Later On: PLAY
In the end, I found it to be true: all the effort in the world is futile without inspiration. So this has become my new ‘to do’ list for those times I must remind myself it’s not the things I do that define me but who I am at heart. Next,
2. PLAY WITH YOUR CREATIVE TOOLS
You noticed I’d hauled out a little bit of my craft stash, such as these rubber stamps (featured) I love. When I made the list, it was without the pressure of creating something for others. Rather, I did it for myself. Simply ask yourself what you could make just for the sake of making it to be happy at that very moment. We all have our personal creative tools—our cameras, our typewriters, laptops, musical instruments, yarning needles, sewing machines, baking and kitchen appliances, cake decorating tools, stamps, scrapbook paper, clay, beads and findings…there’s no end to what we could use to create each day. Play with the tools you have and make something just for yourself right now. I wrote a poem to myself, for myself, and made the list to smile. I think the reason why I indulge in different arts is so that I won’t restrict myself to only one medium of creative thinking. Try something new—even adopt a new tool if possible. It will transform the way you think about your favourite medium of creative avenue, often triggering a new dimension in your usual work.
3. LISTEN TO MUSIC
Music is not only food to our soul but a great muse. Listen to different genres of music to see if it can help trigger your spark to create. I usually write best to music and I use different tempos and sounds for different genres of prose. For instance I’m tuned to Robert Miles right now; for some mysterious reason his most famous composition, ‘Children’ (Dream Version) helps me calm down to think more clearly when I’m trying to write posts like these that demand my straight face, ha.
I just love its perfect varied tempo mix which begins with its soothing ethereal start, gradually working up to a catchy techno beat and ending finally in an exhilarating crescendo. The kind of music that makes me want to run a marathon, punch my fist in the air and scream “I CAN!” OK, you get it. Flip on what rocks you.
4. GO OUTDOORS
My garden oscillates between looking amazing to gothic depending on how much writing I need to get done in the week! I reckon I take it out on those weeds more when I’m needing to chill and keep a portion of my mind busy while subconsciously dreaming up what to write or make. When ‘stuck in a rut’, try some sun time and the great outdoors. Walking always helps clear my mind. The exercise, fresh air and wide open spaces will often calm the chaos and even trigger the lost spark you need. If you live near the beach, lucky you. Refreshing seabreeze, soft fine sand and foamy waves to cool your toes—need I say more?
5. BECOME THE CREATIVE AUDIENCE
Some of my favourite haunts in the city would be the GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) and the Queensland Art Museum. Viewing paintings, sculptures, decorative art objects and various media on canvas, paper, film and others never fails to awaken my senses as a maker and writer. I can hang out there for hours on end, deliberately losing myself and taking notes and pictures that trigger or enhance ideas for my own work. Watching a live performance or enjoying good films can have a similar effect; the idea is to be the audience for a change.
6. READ & RESEARCH
I have a bed in the local library nearby. No, well—I’m almost serious. I could live there where so much raw material is there for my consumption and feasting pleasure. Plonking yourself down at your favourite nook to read in the library does wonders for your creative soul. Go beyond the book shelves. Flip through those digests, journals, magazines and newspapers. Get lost in between the magazine racks and glossy editorials promising fame and fortune. Do what you must. Grab something that catches your eye, makes you stop in your tracks and do a double take. Ideas are everywhere for the plundering! Bring a notebook. Jot down everything that becomes a trigger. Just don’t plagiarise; although everyone’s done it at some point! Attribute your sources if you borrow. Otherwise modify, edit, transform almost completely what you’ve pinched until it’s unrecognisable. P.S. Don’t you quote me. In fact, it’s true that sometimes an idea serves me most well when it sparks a multifold harvest of other ideas that have spun off the original trigger. Truth be told—it’s better to be original. Don’t figure out what people may want. “You be you and they’ll find you”.
7. GIVE YOURSELF TIME
Be patient about your periods of ‘creative low self-esteem’ and valleys of inactivity in the creative spheres of your otherwise wonderful exciting life. Don’t rush your brain. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and discouragement, keep these times as rest periods to stand back from your creative work. My low periods are used for evaluating the journey I’ve made so far, to examine my style of work and set goals of where I need to get to once I find my mojo again. I also use the time to chart my progress and the inertia as a springboard for creative restlessness (yes it’s allowed, didn’t someone tell you?). I use it as a means of reinventing myself once I recover and become a live wire once again.
Periods of creative silence are good for recuperation, rest and reawakening within yourself.
Creativity is a subjective experience, a journey and a lifelong story of ourselves. Just don’t stop making what you make and writing what you write and doing what you do. Feel free to share your ideas here with us, every comment is precious to us. What do you do to find your inspiration again when you’ve lost your mojo?
— Kat Ngoi (@katngoi) May 9, 2016