Hi, I’m Sarah, and my parents pay thousands (and thousands and thousands…and thousands) of dollars a year in tuition fees for me to roll around on the floor.
Now, allow me to explain, I am theatre major. Therefore, the expectations of my degree are slightly varied when it comes to your typical liberal arts education. They involve classes that not only shape me as a person, but are designed to help me achieve success in an industry that is ever changing and doesn’t really have a roadmap.
This particular class where I find myself rolling around on the floor for a couple of hours per week is a movement-based class for actors designed to help stimulate creative choices and solidify basic movement technique. Fancy description for rolling around on the floor, okay?
Before you knock it, I’ll admit that while it is incredibly fun, it can be incredibly challenging. You see, there is no real rubric for a lot of theatre classes, or arts-based classes in general. Because art is left up to interpretation, it can be difficult to know where the bar is set. This is where I ran into my problem.
We were in the midst of an exercise that involved tempo and connecting with a group of actors in order to create this moving sculpture. Looks of intense concentration and timidity filled the room and then my professor abruptly stopped the heavily pulsating music underscoring the exercise.
“You guys do know that there’s no right answer, correct?”
A collective sigh was heard around the room, and it hit me: I was stifling my own creativity by attempting to pour it into a mold that I had deemed “right.”
You don’t have to consider yourself an artist to boost creativity. Creativity is what makes life exciting and fresh, no matter your place in this world. This is how you can up your creative game.
Throw out expectations.
It’s very easy as an artist to have this preconceived notion of what the final product should look like, but the process and evolution that comes with that process is half of what makes that final product so special. Allow the creative process to run its course without cutting it short due to not meeting your preconceived expectations. You’ll be amazed at what you find.
Doodle. I’m Serious.
Those adult coloring books? They’re great! Unless you’re like me and they stress you out because you’re too focused on perfectly coloring. Don’t do that. However, I encourage you to doodle. Stash a few colored pencils or gel pens in your bag/desk at work and doodle when the mood strikes you.
And while you’re at it, journal.
You don’t need to set aside a huge chunk of time to hash out every single thing that has happened to you in a day. Unless, you’re into that and have the time, which then by all means more power to you! I’m talking about casually jotting down the little things that strike you. Ideas that may one day blossom into something more, so you don’t want to forget them. When you hit a roadblock, refer back to your journal for personal inspiration.
We need to support the arts more than ever, and you can boost your creativity while doing just that. Visit local museums, theaters, and galleries for inspiration. Some museums even have free days or discounted admission fees on certain days of week, and theaters will occasionally offer student rush tickets.
Respect the process.
No, relish in the process. Know that some of your best ideas can come from watching a creative project evolve. Take the plateaus in the creative process as challenges to open your mind and dig deeper.
There is nothing I love more than creative collaboration. It almost makes me giddy to be in a room of fellow creatives working on a project and seeing how together we can bring forth something so diverse and amazing. Connect with creatively-minded people around you and consider attending meet ups that foster this as well. Sometimes the answer you’ve been searching for just needs a different viewpoint.