Choosing a career driven by creativity takes courage. Hell, expressing yourself creatively in life is a tough thing to do.
Each decision, each choice, represents your self and requires putting cherished ideas out there to be judged by the world.
Consistently drawing from your creative well may cause it to run dry, forcing you to dig deep somewhere else in your mind for more of that precious resource. Often, creatives have a routine to streamline this process, turning the delicate mental game into something comfortable.
Comfort is easy. Routine is easy. But is “easy” really what we want in life?
Is easy satisfying?
For most of us, yes. Easy can be satisfying. For a while, easy can even be healthy and good. But ask anyone who has experienced 20 years of easy, and I guarantee they’ll agree with my sentiment: Time spent living in your comfort zone does not gratify the mind like perpetually feeding your insatiable curiosity.
Pulled from the most recent post on developing your creative profile, ask yourself these preliminary questions:
- Do you allow yourself time to explore your interests?
- Do you learn daily?
- Do you have fun?
- Do you want more?
In any discipline, stepping outside of your sphere of influence is crucial to staying fresh in your work. As a filmmaker, focusing your time watching beloved movies ensures you have a grasp on Hollywood’s past but may also limit your understanding of life beyond the screen. As a painter, energy spent basking in the minute details of a vast landscape precedes any painting. It boils down to changing your perspective, seeing the world through fresh eyes.
It’s all about learning.
For those missing the big picture, creating fresh material can be challenging. Sure, you have an idea of where your craft came from, but as a content creator, you are responsible for moving your industry forward. For this, you need inspiration, and finding inspiration stems from feeding your insatiable curiosity.
In the video below, Chuck Jones, animator and director most notably for Looney Tunes through the years, argues that inspiration can be found anywhere—especially when considering his medium, cartoons. He communicates on a platform without boundaries, the main limiting factor being the artist’s imagination. Jones would encourage workers to study life, art, the real world. An artist must be able to translate relatable human experience to viewers through outlandish hand-drawn scenes, requiring a grasp on humanity guided by a masterful stroke. The result came alive in our childhood and will remain a part of our culture.
It’s about learning something new and applying those findings back into your work, in this case to their drawings. Chuck specifically advocated reading as much as possible in order to fill the endless well of the imagination. “The only way you can exercise the mind is by bringing new ideas to it.”
Continue to develop your creative profile through both mundane activities and thrilling extracurriculars. Try walking to work while focusing on small details instead of literally driving by at high speeds and missing the world you think you know. Or try lying down in the grass and connecting to a world ruled by the likes of Ant-Man and the Magic School Bus. Or maybe try using your non-dominant hand for a week, reteaching yourself to use familiar objects for a fresh perspective.
If you haven’t been enrolled, it’s time to start your studies as a student of life. Only by harvesting a fertile mind will fruitful ideas flourish.