Five Tips for Staying Creative this January

Monday, January 4th, 2021 at 12:55 pm | News & Events

How to make 2021 a little more creative

No matter where you may find yourself in the world, there are a variety of ways different people and cultures mark the New Year. In Italy it is deemed lucky to wear red underwear, in Brazil it’s better to wear white. In Denmark smashing plates on a friend’s doorstep is the done thing, whereas in Ireland we prefer to bash pots and pans together. 

One thing that is common worldwide however, is the feeling of a new beginning and the opportunities to start afresh. For many of us in the arts world there has been an overwhelming pressure to produce art and keep creative; not just since the new year bells have tolled, but in light of the quarantine situation we have found ourselves in and out of since March 2020. The idea of “you can’t go to the pub, so why not write a novel” is aspirational to the point that it can leave otherwise creative people too stressed to even compose a coherent whatsapp message. 

Fair dues to those who have been able to write new music, finish a screenplay, take up oil painting or stitch the new bayeux tapestry. However, for those of you who long to “make the most” of this time but may be – I don’t know – somewhat distracted by the gloom of an ongoing global pandemic, here are some small ways you can try spark your creativity in the coming months. 

1. Go for a walk without music or a podcast

This can be tricky for some people, but when do you really let your mind wander uninterrupted by any external distractions?

A recent psychological study examined the creative productivity of people after breaking for specific tasks. The study found that taking a break involving an undemanding task improved performance on a classic creativity task far more than did taking a break involving a demanding task, resting, or taking no break. And what’s less demanding than taking a stroll around your local park, or even around the block?

2.  Try ten minutes of Free Writing every day

This is a technique whereby you just let whatever comes to you as you hold pen to paper flow out. Set a timer and just write – you don’t have to show anybody, you don’t have to write coherently or well, it’s merely an exercise to unclog that inspiration drain (or a less disgusting metaphor if you wish).

3. Take a Forest Bath

Originating in Japan, Forest Bathing is a practice defined as “a mindful time spent under the canopy of trees for health and wellbeing purposes”. Forest Bathing has proven to have many benefits including reducing stress, increasing happiness hormones and freeing up creativity. To keep with a theme that is repeated throughout this blog, a true Forest Bath involves leaving your phone and camera at home and simply wandering aimlessly under the leaves. 

4. Read a Book 

Try to take just 30 minutes a day to sit down and read a book – not a blog, not an article (you can finish this one first). Reading sparks our own imagination and creativity by forcing us to dream up the images within the book and to see things from a different perspective. In addition, if you are hoping to write your own work – whether a play, a poem, or a novel – reading will improve your vocabulary too. 

5. Ditch the digital addiction

Yes, it is particularly difficult at the moment to completely give up your devices, especially when they help us stay connected to the world we are being asked to stay apart from. However, if you are spending upwards of 4 hours a day on your phone, think about how much of that could be spent on doodling, reading, or one of the above mentioned pursuits? 

There are a myriad of apps (yes, the irony does not escape us) that can help you with a phone addiction, and help you assign your time to activities that will help enhance your well-being and boost your creativity! You can check out a review of these apps here.

We wish you all the best on your creative journey – and let’s not forget, time is a manmade construct so if you don’t succeed in January, there’s always February or March or whenever.