The past couple of weeks have been slow. In my mind, that is. I love what I do all day-- writing, editing, coming up with ideas-- it's the dream life. So why is everything I produce lately starting to feel boring and identical?
Unfortunately, 'dream life' isn't enough to get the creative juices flowing. There's gotta be a plan, or jolter; something that will almost force the creativity to jumpstart without it feeling forced.
So, I sat down with several highly creative people this week: most notably, one very successful YouTuber and filmmaker, and another very successful bestselling fiction author and performer. I asked both of these people about their creative processes, and how they manage to come up with creative ideas even when they are experiencing a mind block.
I expected them to answer something out-of-the-box like, "well, I go for a hike in my happy place," or "I meditate until the idea I'm looking for appears" or "I paint while listening to music." But the answer I got was nothing like that.
Both of them had the same secret ingredient for me: consistency.
By doing the same thing every day, they told me, you create a vessel for your creative juices to flow into when they're ready. That can take days, or weeks-- you never know. So you might as well produce your content every single day, perfecting your skill, so that when inspiration does strike, it is a masterpiece.
"Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things. You simply must do things." - Ray Bradbury
For instance, the YouTuber makes YouTube videos every single day, without stop. Some days, he has nothing he feels interested in talking about. He still makes videos on those days.
Same goes for the author. He writes every single day. "Creativity comes in waves," he told me. "There will always be lows and highs." You've gotta learn to ride those waves and cash out on the highs-- but remember, the lows are what will get you to the highs.
This is something that so many artists fail to understand. We are perfectionists by nature; we want everything we produce to be perfect and effortless and dreamy. But that's not gonna happen. The only way to produce the good content that everybody wants is to embrace the dumb, boring content and realize how vital it is to your art.
If you are a blogger, blog every day. If you're a video producer, produce content every day. If you're a musician, make music every day.
"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." - Maya Angelou
It doesn't matter if you have nothing to write, or sing, or draw that day. It doesn't matter if you're feeling stupid and bored, and everything you create looks like Jake from State Farm created it. Keep doing it, even a tiny bit every day, and the reward will come later.
So... you might have this question:
"When it does come, where will it come from? How can I be sure it's the kind of inspiration that will move mountains and not just pile of garbage in my kitchen?"
The author gave me another insight: the creative art you produce will come from within, so do things that excite you and make you happy. Travel, read books that are not relevant to your day job, meditate, exercise, stimulate your mind. Take care of your body. Listen your feelings. Explore new things. Get out there.
"Creativity is intelligence having fun." - Albert Einstein
These things might not change how you produce content right there in the moment, but they contribute to your overall artistic soul, which translates into magnificent content when inspiration strikes. If you want your inspired content to look boring as heck, be sure to sit inside your dark office all day, don't read anything new, don't talk to anybody, and just focus on working and producing content. But if you want your inspired work to look alive and exciting, do what the bestselling author suggests. Get out and feel alive.
But don't forget to upload your daily cat video first.