Make-It-Monday: Using the Arts to Inspire Creativity
What do you do when you hit that point in your writing when you can’t come up with a succinct thought? When you have no idea where your story or article, fiction or nonfiction, is going?
Try making something, anything. Do you enjoy sewing? Get out your machine and stitch away.
Do you like knitting? Find some scrap yarn, and make a new scarf.
Do you find watching YouTube videos relaxing? Create one yourself. You don’t need to publish it, the act of creating it is the key. Enjoy photography? Snap some photos and make a collage.
Like to play the piano? Learn a new song.
Enjoy nature? Get outside and walk.
The list of creative endeavors other than writing is long and diverse, and there’s a project out there just waiting for each of us when we face the dry well of writing creativity. Switching to a different type of “making” can give us inspiration, spark new ideas and reduce the stress of staring at a blank white page.
Watercolor painting helps me when I’m struggling with my writing. When I started this blog, I had the idea to make a small sketch/painting to go with each post. As you can see, these paintings, some done on the computer, aren’t works of art.
They’re quick (usually) and fun and spontaneous. Which, for me, struggling daily to find the perfect word and the perfect plot point, is immensely liberating. And helpful. I can’t say how many times I’ve done a watercolor lesson, to be followed shortly by a writing idea that seems to appear out of nowhere. The act of looking but not looking, and then, suddenly, you see clearly! I don’t always use the ideas, but successful ones often emerge from these starter flashes of insight.
Want to know what the best part is for me? The energy that is generated inside me by the process. I feel inspired, creative, and ready to tackle the blank page. Do I care if the drawings, paintings, knitting projects, and collages, are wonderful works of art? Not one bit, which is a bold statement for a perfectionist to utter.
In my first oil painting class, while pursuing my art therapy degree, we were given an assignment: create an abstract painting of an object in nature. On a 24 x 36 inch canvas. A frightening large area to fill for someone as symmetrical and methodical and controlled as me. My professor, after walking by, watching me make tiny equal marks using a small brush, forbids me to paint with anything but a palette knife.
The canvas in front of me morphed into the most terrifying object I’d ever seen. I broke out in a sweat every time I put paint on my knife and gingerly added it to the canvas. In retrospect, this project taught me more about myself and my creativity than anything else I’ve done. Because of it, I’m able to enjoy the process of watercolor painting which can be unpredictable and free. In fact, I think that’s why I’m drawn to this art form. It pushes me outside my limits, and it’s there where I find my best writing ideas.
What creative endeavors inspire and help you with your writing? Try one today.
Make this Monday a true Make-It Monday!
Here’s some articles about the connection between art, creativity, and writing: