Staying Creative (or How Do You Do That?!)

It's a question that I've been thinking about recently - how can people be creative to deadlines? Not only a question that's interesting to many students with a creative assessment. But as someone who wants to build a career on it, an essential skill! So, I included it on a list of possible options for a blog post and nearly 100% of respondents also wanted to engage with it. So, here's some thoughts on how to stay creative when you don't feel like being creative.

Inspire Ideas

I'm still learning where my ideas come from. But I know some come from nature, some from other music, some from other creatives, and a good chunck sneak in with pop-culture. So I try to make sure i spend time in places of beauty - living in Bath helps. I listen to artists I love - HAIM's new album is brilliant, anything by Poppy Ackroyd, Anna Thorvaldsdottir or Meredith Monk always helps inspire me. I try to delve into other types of art - some link to my own work, many don't at all. And importantly for me, I subscribe to youtube channels and podcasts. Far too many to mention - NightVale Presents podcasts, Jenna Marbles, Geek and Sundry, ThreadBanger, Simply Nailogical ... ... ... So. Many. More.

Encourage Action

Most helpful thing I ever did was by accident. I discovered things that made me want to be creative. People who know me will almost certainly have heard me talk about Q2's Meet the Composer with Nadia Sirota, The Comedian's Comedian Podcast with Stuart Goldsmith, and You're Never Weird On The Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day. Listening or reading to these makes me want to compose, even when I don't have any ideas. IMHO, Meet the Composer is a must for composers. And I can't rave enough about Felicia Day's book. 

Listen to the Voices Outside Your Head

You'll have noticed by now that many of the things I've linked to are produced by women. I try to keep up on a few blogs/podcasts that interest me but are outside of my field. Philosophy, theology, Hip-Hop - all areas that I know enough to understand and follow, but aren't what I do as an artist. That's all part of trying to remain inspired, by I'm often provoked as well. Like when I read this on the dominance of "white, male, Western, straight, able-bodied, cisgendered" academics and how to break that cycle of thought.

The answer, obviously, is to be intentional in reading authors who are not like me, to deliberately expose myself to voices not like mine. I need to work on this for all of life, but for now, it will be my discipline this Lent.

Steve Holmes, 2017

I realised, if I only listened to music like mine from people like me. Then I'd never learn from the amazing people who aren't like me. So far that's meant a lot more women. But I hope to expand my listening to more 'minority' groups. I hope to remain aware of my unique viewpoint, by learning from others equally important and unique viewpoints.

Talk the Talk

'Simple' - talk to other people doing creative things. We all struggle to create at times, and we can all be helped and supported by those around us.

Walk the Walk

Finally, I'm intrigued that performance artists aren't faced with this question in the same way. I can't imagine an improviser being asked 'how do you improvise when you don't feel creative'. And I think that's because they just do it and see what happens. So if you can't inspire creativity, just try to do something. You might throw it all away, but you might end up with that one line you like. (yeah, as easy as that right?)


How do you do it? What do you think of my thoughts? What am I missing? Let's #TalkTheTalk on this one.