As a wedding photographer, our weekends are pretty much where the bulk of our creative energy is focused. But right now is our slow season. It’s when we work on our business, plan for the year, and reflect on last year. It’s also a time when we actually have a weekend! So to start this 3 day weekend I want to mention five ways that can help feed your creativity while still allowing you to enjoy the weekend. 1.) Go to a random show. We live in Nashville. There’s never not a show. But look for something you’re interested in or something you’re not. Sometimes experiencing something that doesn’t quite gel with your preference (like going to a Garth Brooks concert instead of The Muse) will allow your brain to connect and make something more crazy and different than it usually would.
2.)Drive and listen to an audiobook. Listening to books in the car is a great use of time.
I have had so many ideas come from this. Popping on a good book and driving (especially on the interstate) helps me to soak in the content better. I think it must be something to do with all the habit loops at play but whatever it is, my brain connects the dots a little bit faster when I’m driving and listening. Just make sure you have somebody else take notes for you 😉
3.) Make something unnecessary.
Start a blog about dog sleds. Or start a novel about a secret government agency that controls everything. Whatever it is it just has to not matter. In no way, shape, or form is it to be for anybody but you. It doesn’t have to be good. It just has to be done. Make Stuff.
4.)Make a plan for how you’ll take care of yourself creatively for 2014.
Put actual actionable steps on the calendar and stick to them! For example: Pick an experience, like go to a concert, and write it down and put it on the calendar. Or maybe: Start new book on creativity on March 1st. It can be in the form of experiences, meetings, books to read, conferences to go to. Whatever it is, if you write it down and put a date on it you’re more likely to make it happen. And If you’re being intentional about these things, you will notice more consistency in your creative ideas and breakthroughs.
Slow down. Sit down. and think. Think about what this year looks like. Who will you meet? Where will you go? What will you read? What good will you do? What will next week look like? What did last week look like? Thinking is something we only do when we need to. “Let me think about that.” But what would it look like if we did more intentional thinking and had a time where we did nothing but think. I’m not taking about brainstorming or trying to rack your brain for ideas. I’m talking about becoming a thinker. The only way to do that is to think. To have bad ideas that become good ideas. To make mistakes. To win and to fail. But it all has to be intentional.
Because if there’s anything I want to be true: I want my thoughts to be active, not reactive. Great ideas don’t just happen. They are grown out of the connection of experience, intentionality, relationships, and bad ideas. They sometimes come on all of a sudden like a flash, but they’ve always been there waiting for the right connection to show up and change everything. Be intentional at least one time this weekend about your creativity. See how it makes you feel as you start the next week.