Happy 2018 everyone! With the dawn of a new year comes new hopes and aspirations. As we reflect on our habits, deeds, and writings of the previous year, we often create lists of things we seek to alter in our day to day life, or things to accomplish in the coming twelve months that we did not in 2017. Needless to say, the coming of a new year can be daunting, instead of hopeful- exhausting instead of excitement. Instead of focusing on the opportunities forgone, let us create tangible goals to look forward to. One area in our lives that we are choosing to focus on this year is creativity. Lately we have been so inspired by the brilliant creatives in our lives, that we have decided to emulate some of their creative exercises. Even if you do not consider yourself to be a creative, these practices are simple and worth the effort. You don’t have to possess incredible artistic talent in order to stretch your brain and let your creativity flow. Here are ten ways to be creative in 2018:
1. Write in a journal
This is a wonderful way to record your daily musings, earth-shattering realizations, lists, dreams, monotonous grumblings, favorite quotes – anything! We’ve found that a pocket journal is perfect to put in your purse, and it’s portable! When we’ve approached journal writing in the past, we’ve been hesitant. We’ve felt this overwhelming pressure that within those hallowed pages we have to write the next great American novel. In reality, journals aren’t perfect, nor should you expect perfection. The beauty of a journal is its ability to be a treasure trove for all your little observations of daily life.
2. Put away your phone
Now, we realize that phones have so many creative capabilities and are often useful tools to expand your creative horizons. But, we’ve also noticed that they can be distracting. We find ourselves numbly scrolling for hours on end, consuming and consuming, instead of creating. So for this exercise, simply put your phone away from 30 minutes. Turn it off. Put it in another room or in your purse. Dedicate this time to take in the environment around you. Instead of turning to your phone for entertainment in line at the grocery store, observe those around you. Take in the little details. Make eye contact with someone – or even meet someone new! Our environment is a hub of creativity. Take notice of it. You never know, it may inspire you.
3. Read, Read, Read
That’s right, folks. Sometimes the best way to be inspired is to read the ideas of others. If you have a short attention span, consider reading magazines or creative blogs instead of lengthy books. We wrote a blog post about our favorite creative blogs. You can check that out here.
4. Study one of your heroes
This sounds bizarre, but trust us, this holds meaning. Who is someone in the art realm that you admire, or at least, admire their work? Take a deeper look into how this person leads their life. How do they spend their free time? What is the first thing they do when they get up in the morning? All of these little details can spark a flame of inspiration in us. Of course, we’re all different, and no two creatives are the same, but sometimes it takes a little emulating in order to get us started on our own creative quest.
5. Learn a new word everyday
Words hold so much power, and there are so many words in the vast canvas of our language. There is something very exciting about learning new words, new meanings, new conversations. Not only does learning new words spice up our dialogue, but it broadens our creative scope. Our words are useful tools in order to convey our creative goals. Essentially, more words in our vocabulary means more tools in our toolkit. We paint our canvas with a broader brush. Download the dictionary app and each day take a gander at the featured word of the day. If nothing else, you’ll be entertained by the sometimes hilariously eccentric words that you never even knew existed.
6. Learn a new skill
Is there an instrument you’ve been wanting to play? A recipe you’ve been wanting to master? A scarf you’ve been wanting to knit? Take this year to learn something new and find a mentor who can teach you a skill that you’ve always wanted to acquire. Take a course at a community college in watercolor painting or learn how to weave baskets from your Grandma. It doesn’t even have to be something drastic. If you’re hesitant about completing this creative goal, settle for something a little simpler and more cost efficient. Either way, learn something new that you can carry on in years to come. So many of our favorite creatives exude confidence and a can-do attitude. Let’s emulate that positivity this year and challenge ourselves to something outside our comfort zone.
7. Practice the art of listening
Listening is a skill, and one worth mastering. Some of your greatest encouragers and helpful critics can be found in your community – in your group of peers. All it takes is for you to start the conversation. Consult them for advice. Listen to your friends’ creative musings and ideas. Bounce ideas off of one another. If you find that some of your friends share creative goals, set aside time every week to discuss said goals. However, instead of ensuring that your point is getting across, really listen to your peers. Focus on their own ambitions as well as their critiques of your work – whatever form that may be. Find peers who won’t just agree with everything you do, but who really push you and question the intention of your art. Responding to critique is one of the best ways to grow as a creative.
8. Mood board
Find a corner of your room to put up a bulletin board, or if you really insist, create a digital board on Pinterest for everything that inspires you. We’ve found physical boards to be more helpful, though, especially when it’s in your room where you can see it often. Pin colors that you associate with, artwork from your favorite artist, pictures of your favorite TV characters, snapshots from your favorite Instagrammers. Somehow, when you add all of these things you’re passionate about into one central location, you’re able to hone in on your own creative endeavors. You get at the heart of what sets your soul on fire – what you live for.
9. Take lots of pictures
Document your travels or your day to day adventures. This allows you to recount details you wouldn’t have remembered otherwise. Create an aesthetic for your photography style. Find out what filters match your aesthetic and share it. One of our greatest creative accomplishments this past year has been establishing our Instagram aesthetic. As silly as it sounds, it says so much about your personal brand. Taking photos, editing them, and place them is such a fun, creative way to present yourself to the world, and it’s a fantastic way for people to get to know you better. Also, this may lead to you collaborating with other photographers!
10. Keep the faith
We understand that life happens. Two months into a resolution, and your faith fades. That initial spark of excitement dies when resolutions turn into monotony. Instead of falling prey to this common mentality, hold fast to your creative goals for 2018. Being a creative is all about that can do attitude, that infectious personality, the will power to expand horizons and refine skills. Being your own motivator can be difficult, but sometimes it’s necessary. Do what you can to stay inspired and accomplish those 2018 goals you’ve set for yourself.