You’re a creative — a photographer. You’re not bound to the same rules that the 9-to-5 crowd adheres to. You refuse to be locked into a cubicle. You view the world in a markedly different way than the spreadsheet experts.
But the creative wellspring that you so often dip into isn’t guaranteed to flow forever — it can dry up. To keep your creativity — and your creative life as a photographer — in prime condition, you have to nurture it.
Check out these four ways you can nurture and maintain your creativity.
Keep Track Of Your Ideas
Think back to the last time you lost your house/car keys and how frustrating it was to not be able to locate them. I guess, in such situations, it would be more accurate to refer to your keys as being temporarily misplaced rather than lost.
Losing ideas is far more frustrating because they’re often gone for good. So when you’re struck with a brilliant concept, capture it — even if it’s in the middle of the night.
Especially if it’s in the middle of the night.
Write it down, enter it into your phone, tell it to a voice recorder. The medium doesn’t matter; you need to make a detailed record of your ideas. That way, you have a storehouse of ideas to reach for any time you need them.
I know life itself can be a distraction. But our always-on, notifications-for-everything world makes it worse. To nurture your creativity, you need some peace every now and then.
Not that you have to sit in silence, but you need to disconnect from all the outside influences that can interrupt your contemplative moments and brainstorming sessions. If you suffer from fear of missing out on everything that’s going on in the virtual world, you will end up missing out on moments of potentially brilliant self-discovery.
Once you’ve decided that tending to your creative well being takes precedence over who’s posting what on Facebook, you can set your notifications accordingly.
Keep Your Skills Polished
Perhaps another way of putting this would be, Don’t be ruled by your ego.
You can always lose whatever you’re good at. Think you’re awesome at composition? Great. That’s no reason to stop learning about composition or any other aspect of what makes an effective photo.
Learning and practice are two of the best ways to maintain and expand your creativity. You can never know everything — by staying curious, you’ll increase your knowledge base and, more importantly, find new ways to incorporate your ideas into what you’ve learned.
Lend A Helping Hand
Be generous with your knowledge and talent. It would be easy to think that giving away such valuable resources means you’re shortchanging yourself, but I think you will find that the opposite is usually the case.
Sharing in creative moments with others has a strange way of benefiting everyone involved. Selfishness and hyper-competitiveness will only serve to isolate you and limit the number of potential sources of inspiration you have.
If you’re all about growing your creativity, you should be aware of how powerful it can be to help others be more creative. It’s a reciprocal relationship.
Don’t limit yourself to knowing more about your particular skills. Make it a point to explore the creative work of people in every field — painting, music, filmmaking, poetry, etc.
By exploring the work and philosophies of creatives in other disciplines, you might find new and unexpected techniques to apply to your work.
Opening up new lanes allows a creative individual to thrive, and exploration is arguably the best way of opening things up.
The life of a creative is sometimes portrayed as being exciting and glamorous. While those descriptors may variably apply, the more fundamental reality is that the life of a creative is often typified by hard work and persistence, bouts of self-doubt, and fear of losing one’s mojo — the very thing that allows anyone to call himself or herself a creative.
The strategies above are only a handful of ways to nurture and maintain your creativity. If there are strategies that you’ve come to rely on, feel free to share them with the rest of the community.