Truth be told, we aren’t always as complicated as we make ourselves seem. Many things in life, in fact, are quite simple although we like to complicate them. So today, I thought I’d make a comparison between us and something very simple: sponges. By nature, we can be very similar; much like sponges in water, we absorb what or who we are surrounded by. Your surroundings are a big component in what you cultivate in life, and creativity is no exception. It can be easy to try to separate our creative lives from our “real” lives, but they are very intertwined. We are a whole, not a makeup of pieces. That being said, what we absorb in life all around can have a large impact on what we create. If you decide to implement some of these ideas into your life, I’m right alongside you! It’s a process of actively digging into my creative side each day. I know I’ll never master all of these perfectly, but they’re some helpful hints that guide me along the way of getting my pen (and voice) to paper as much as I can.
I’ve always been a big advocate for “you are who you surround yourself with”. In fact, I’ve said it before here on the blog. When we surround ourselves with positive, drama-free people, it gives us a solid foundation. Our minds won’t be so distracted with constant conflict that toxic people can bring around, therefore leaving more freedom for a creative mindset. Having people who are both encouraging and truthful are imperative in anyone’s life, but especially a creative’s. It isn’t necessary about having yes-men surrounding you all the time, but people who truly support you (even when that means telling you truths you just don’t want to hear). When those are the people in your circle, you can breathe easier. In addition, I do think it’s important to surround yourself with fellow creatives. Community is important, and having people around you who understand your perspective and inspire you can really provide an important layer to your creativity.
On that thread, social media is a great way to absorb others’ creativity from all over the world. Never before in history has it been easier to access quality content, from paintings to novels and everything in between. I follow a variety of accounts myself (Instagram is @word.oasis): painters, jewelry creators, fashion bloggers, digital artists, of course writers, and so many more. It feels wonderful to open up my Instagram page knowing that I’m surrounding myself with like-minded people who also have a unique perspective to share. It’s such a fascinating phenomenon, but the online world is a great place to find fellowship and comradery in your respective creative community (and others!). This links directly with who we surround ourselves with, and the best part is that online, you have full control of who you follow. It’s a great way to connect with other creatives and put your own work out there at the same time.
Moving on to a point I designed specifically for writers, I want to discuss how important free reading is. I use that specific term for people who are in a similar position as me: still in school. This means readings upon readings of things we wouldn’t have selected ourselves. However, it’s so important to have a self-curated library of things you can dive into. Right now, I have a novel, poetry collection, and self-development book on my bedside table. As the saying goes, “if you want to be a good writer, be a good reader”. Diving into craft is so important, and it’s such a peaceful way to ignite your own creativity. There’s nothing I find more relaxing than curling up with a book, and I’m aiding in my own creative process at the same time. You’ll inadvertently pick up on different techniques you may later utilize, as well as note things that you will purposely try to avoid. Again, absorbing others’ perspective is a great way to solidify your own and to expand your horizon of thought. Take what works, leave what doesn’t, and get a (hopefully) great read out of it, too. Active learning is key.
Now comes my favorite way to soak up some writer’s inspiration and creativity: personal writing time. Life is hectic. Trust me, I’m with you on that, but it’s important that we absorb our own creativity and carve out time to spend in our own creative voice.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” -Maya Angelou
This is one of my favorite quotes. Creativity reminds me a lot of never-ending dominos. Yes, sometimes you will get stuck as we all do, but things are always moving forward and one idea links to the next and to the next. Trust your own creativity and make the time. The world needs your voice and your perspective. It’s unique to you and no one else can offer it. There is nothing better to me than falling into a writing rhythm when the words just begin to nearly write themselves. It doesn’t happen every time, but when it does, it’s magic. The more you practice, the more the words will come. Similarly, the more time you spend in that creative space, the more it will feel like home, and that’s when you can truly live inside inspiration. So yes, we are more complicated than sponges, but if we learn to absorb more of the good, creativity (and life) gets a whole lot simpler.
Much Love, Quinn
Crazy cat lady. Exploratory writer. Much love.