musings of a subway performer and lifelong troubadour

Creativity, blocks and workflow. How do you Stay creative?

Added on by NYC Subway Girl.

Today I submitted a short essay on creativity for a book designed to help people get out of a creative rut, by artist writer Noah Scalin for a  follow-up to his recent book 365: A Daily Creativity Journal.  I also found through Noah Five Tips for Endless Artistic Inspiration by Beth Brown

I'd love to hear what keeps you creative?

Creativity, blocks and workflow. Tough Love of a full time artist. By NYCSubwayGirl Cathy Grier

Keep a journal of ideas and inspirations.  It provides great resource material when you are blocked. I find journaling in the morning is a great way to awaken my creativity. I sometimes journal while listening to Pubic Radio. I often hear interesting stories that inspire creativity to riff on. In addition to being a great writing exercise, journaling provides an endless source of material to draw from when I’m creatively blocked.

Bookmark sites and stories that can inspire material. On my computer I keep a bookmark folder in my browser of interesting people, stories or places I have discovered. When I need a creative nudge, I frequently go to that list. However, it’s important to be mindful of internet distractions and the temptation to click off topic. 

Schedule creative time. Daily!  It’s easier to stay focused on my writing when I establish a routine, especially when I don’t have a particular project I’m working on. With tough love I schedule my creative time or I can get lost in the art of multi-tasking self-promotion. To ensure I get the best results, I experimented to find the time of day when I am most productive and stick with that time.

Use performing as a means to stimulate creativity. When I have an idea for a song or need a new arrangement, I work it out during a subway gig. The chaotic environment of commuters provides a rhythmic texture that’s inspirational. It’s a collaboration of creativity in movement. I love learning through this process what songs suddenly stand out and get attention.

Nothing is gained by stressing. Believing in yourself doesn’t save you from ever being creatively stuck. But it should help you get through those moments when they do come. I believe my life’s work is wholly designed for creativity, so when I’m blocked I have learned not to stress about it. I quickly try to do some mundane task until I feel I’ve distracted myself away from any potential negative or unproductive thoughts. Then I go back to my creativity. If that doesn’t work, I take a walk, have a tea break, or listen to the radio with my journal in hand.

Creativity like a good friend needs to be nurtured and supported with consistent authenticity.