I am fortunate to have a job that allows me to be creative on a daily basis but sometimes I find that by the time I get home from work I can feel a bit like I've nothing left in the tank for myself. With this in mind I've been searching for ways to help nurture my creativity on my own time without sapping my limited energy in the process. These are 4 of my favourite ways to nurture my creative side.
1. Take an early morning writing class
Discovering I could be creative before work was a lightbulb moment for me. I stumbled across Write & Shine in a teeny tiny feature in Time Out magazine a couple of years ago and I am so glad I did. The classes take place as close to dawn as possible and normally wrap by 9am. Led by writer and self-confessed early bird Gemma Seltzer, I've found these classes to be a source of great joy as they give me the opportunity to play with thoughts and words in a calm, quiet and supportive environment. On the occasions I can't attend a class in person I take an online course instead and this gives me the chance to kickstart my creative day from home. Every time I've done this I've gone to work with a spring in my step and its resulted in some of my most productive work days. Wins all round!
2. Surround yourself with creative people
Whether you're into filmmaking or knitting find your tribe and the creativity will follow. I love meeting friends and hearing about the personal projects to which their weekends are devoted. It's not only inspiring but it can also lead to the opportunity to help out on their creative endeavours too. Surrounding yourself with supportive, like-minded people can really give your confidence a boost and get those creative juices flowing. If your friends aren't interested in the same creative endeavours not to worry! Websites like Meet Up are a great way to meet new people with relatively targeted interests, from hiking to screenwriting, there's sure to be a group to suit you and if not you can start your own.
3. Get outside
I often find that going for a walk can really help to clear my head and put things into perspective. If a particular idea has been percolating for a while but I can't move it forward I'll head outside - with my phone on silent or flight mode - and just walk and think my way through it. Sometimes I'll bring a camera with me to photograph things that catch my eye or I'll set myself challenges to meet that will flex my creative muscles in a way other than writing or filmmaking. Variety is key to helping me stay motivated and fuel my imagination. If you don't fancy a walk or run try swimming. Being in the water, with only my breathing to focus on can open up a window of precious distraction-free time to work through ideas and make plans.
4. Challenge yourself
Whether your challenge is to write in a style you don't ordinarily practise or to learn a new skill, challenging yourself to something new can open up possibilities you didn't know existed. Just make sure you give yourself a deadline to sharpen your focus. It could be an afternoon or a week, give yourself a timeframe you believe you can work to and do so. If you're looking for inspiration hitRecord is a great meeting place for creatives to come together and collaborate.
I hope you find these tips helpful. I'd love to know how you nurture your creativity - please do share your tips in the comments below. In the coming months I'll be setting some creative challenges for you to complete in your own time so keep checking back if you need a little inspiration.