“Creativity is the quality that you bring to the activity that you are doing. It is an attitude, an inner approach — how you look at things. . . . Whatsoever you do, if you do it joyfully, if you do it lovingly, if your act of doing is not purely economical, then it is creative.” – Osho
Creativity is not limited to the artists of the world — it is something every person, regardless of his or her occupation, can and should cultivate. I think in some way, we all instinctively know this. But life can get so busy and there can be so many voices clamoring for our attention that we often lose touch with our creative nature.
Keeping creativity alive can be especially difficult in winter when we have less sunlight and fresh air, and life can feel particularly stale and flat. The holidays are past, spring seems a long way off, and we are struggling to find zest in our daily life.
If you’re feeling uncreative and unmotivated, what can you do to recharge your batteries?
Cultivate a Hobby
Hobbies are a wonderful way to give our creative life a jolt of energy. Because they aren’t part of our job, there’s no pressure to feel like we have to be experts, and we can be free to make mistakes, get sloppy, and explore new ideas through them. Doing something just for fun, with no need for perfectionism, is a great way to shake free of the fear of failure that can so often stifle creativity.
Knitting is my favorite hobby; it is something that engages my hands and, unless I’m working through a particularly complex part of the pattern, leaves my brain free to wander and imagine. This freedom is especially helpful for a writer, as it is a great way to work through plot holes or figure out what’s causing a block in the writing.
For my mother, gardening is her big hobby. Bringing life and growth out of seemingly barren ground never fails to rejuvenate her and bring her joy.
For you, your next hobby could be a do-it-yourself project, painting, drawing, woodworking, puzzles, or anything else that engages your interest and helps you to play.
Speaking of play, have you recently watched kids play? The whole world is open to them and nothing is impossible. Their imaginations soar as they run, jump, climb, explore, and have fun. They can be knights in shining armor, fighting the dragons (or fighting on the side of the dragons if they want). They can be superheroes, saving the world from the gravest of danger. They can be champion athletes, winning the Olympics and tasting the triumph of victory. They can be anyone and anything they want.
That sense of endless wonder can be hard to hold onto as we get older and feel the responsibilities of adult life pressing down on our shoulders. That’s only natural, but life doesn’t have to be that way.
So get silly! Play a game, turn cartwheels, dress up in a costume, or find a playground and climb the monkey bars. Challenge yourself to write a silly poem or a limerick. Let yourself daydream about a fantastic, impossible adventure. Listen to kids’ music and make up goofy lyrics to go along with the tune.
If your writing has felt stale and flat to you lately, some uninhibited goofiness may be just the ticket to unlocking your creativity. Playfulness is a fabulous quality for anyone to cultivate to help stimulate imagination and joyfulness.
Spend Time With Others
Playfulness is when you’re not alone. Have you ever tried playing hide-and-seek tag or creating a vast empire over the entire playground all by yourself? It isn’t exactly easy.
For an extrovert, seeking out a group to rejuvenate oneself might be instinctive. As an introvert, I tend to reach for solitude when I want to recharge my batteries because that usually works best for me. Even so, there are times when I need other people around to stir me up and pull me out of a stagnant state of being. Sometimes solitude is the easy choice, not the right one — it can keep me in the same pit I’ve been in and push me to dig myself in deeper.
Frustrations and problems can loom larger than life when you are the only one looking at them, but another person’s perspective can help sort them back out where they belong. Even if you only seek out one friend, time spent with others is necessary when we’ve gotten ourselves into a rut and can’t seem to break free on our own.
Whether alone or with others, getting out into nature is another wonderful way to stir up life, joy, and creativity. Whether you live in the city or the country, there is always wonder to be found in the natural world. From a walk around the block to a stroll through a park or a hike in the woods, nature is always ready to refresh and restore us. This activity can be tricky in winter in the colder climates, as the weather isn’t always conducive to getting outside — but there is beauty even in the bleakness of leafless trees standing starkly against a pale blue winter sky.
If you can force yourself to bundle up and brave the chill, you will find your senses stimulated and your spirits refreshed. When I visit family members who live in the mountains during winter, I always try to get outside for a moonlit tramp through the snow. I always return bubbling over with words ready to pour off my pen onto the page. And what can be better than cozying up with a hot drink, a fuzzy blanket, and a fresh notebook after being out in the cold?
Whatever our work, be it writing or engineering or plumbing or doctoring or homemaking, we all need that spark of creativity in our lives. Equally, there are always going to be times when we struggle to keep that spark alive. Starting new hobbies, being more playful, spending time with others, and getting out into nature are some helpful ways to keep the creative juices flowing or to start them flowing when the well seems to have dried up entirely.
What are some ways you have found to keep your creativity alive?