Creative health– this is a topic we don't talk about often enough! On an Instagram live recently, someone asked me what tips I have for making sure we're taking good care of our creative health. As a creative entrepreneur, it's very easy to fall into the trap of mundane; working with clients is what we do, but they often dictate our creative process (no matter how many boundaries you set). It's just the side effect of being creative– but that “side effect” can leave us feeling creative burnout like we're not working at our best and uninspired.
It happens to so many of us. I even discussed it with Kristy Rice on her episode of The Power in Purpose podcast, where she shares the techniques she uses to stay creative.
So, how do we fix it or stop it from happening in the first place? Here are 3 ways to safeguard your creative health.
DO PERSONAL PROJECTS FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN YOURSELF
Get out there and start creating something for you. It can be related to your business– like a branding photoshoot or a creative photoshoot– or something entirely different, like adult coloring (shout out to my friend Kristy Rice, who created these beautiful coloring books).
The whole point is for you to exercise your creativity on your own terms and for no other reason than it's something YOU want to do. That's how I started doing editorial photoshoots; at the time, I just wanted to create something for me that could be enjoyed by others. Those photoshoots lead to more photoshoots and as you know, two books!
Try something new or get back to your roots. Sign up for a pottery class, start a YouTube channel about bird watching (can you tell I was trying to think of something completely random?), dust off that digital camera and take pictures of your life. No matter the activity, doing creative personal projects for yourself can help reignite the day-to-day creativity your clients expect from you.
LOOK OUTSIDE YOUR INDUSTRY FOR INSPIRATION
Put away those industry-related magazines and get outside of your creative cycle. Look elsewhere for your inspiration– like your daily life, your favorite restaurant, that peaceful park near your house. Have conversations with people outside your industry– artists, artisans, chefs… the list is endless. When we can look outside of our industry for inspiration, we open up a whole new way of looking at things.
I shared an instagram post about how my art teacher in college asked us to close our eyes and tell him what we saw. I go back to this exercise from time to time when I need some help. Close your eyes to your industry pinterest feed and obvious sources of inspiration and open them to new places where inspiration is waiting for you!
FORM A CREATIVE GROUP
Working in creative isolation can suck, y'all. That's why I suggest curating a creative group of like-minded entrepreneurs, either in the same industry or in industries entirely unrelated, to help you move the needle forward.
Claude Monet (admittedly my least favorite painter) was the founder of Impressionism, but the movement itself arose from a group of fellow artists. You’d be surprised to hear that this creative group was composed of Monet, Renoir, Bazille, and Alfred Sisley, later expanding to include Manet, Degas and Cezanne. The original group of four often lived and worked under the same roof, harnessing their resources, inspiring each other to take risks, and learning from each other’s mistakes.
Call it a mastermind or a community– call it whatever you'd like! The principle has been around for a long time and it works. I wrote an entire blog post about how creativity in numbers can boost your business. Learn more about my thoughts on the subject here.