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Photo Contest Insider Blog

How to make Creativity a Habit

January 6, 2017

For some people, creativity seems to come as easy as breathing. They are creative every day, and their work is always inspiring. But how do those people manage to sustain it for so long? The answer is to turn creativity into a daily habit. Rather than something that you wait around for, you should be making creativity happen when and where you need it to. Here’s how to turn creativity from a flash of inspiration into a regular habit.

Make appointments with your creativity

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is waiting for creativity to come to them. Unless you are actually trying to be creative, it may never come to you at all. It’s also impractical to wait for it to come – who knows how many deadlines you could miss or chances you would have to turn down while waiting? Instead, make an appointment with your creativity. Have an hour a day, or a longer period per week, where you sit down in order to be creative. For a photographer, this might mean sitting to plan out photoshoots, or coming up with ideas. It could also mean just going out for an hour and making yourself take creative photographs. Not every idea will be a useable one, and not every photograph will be one to keep. The point is to engage with your creative side as regularly as possible. Just like a muscle, your creativity will get stronger the more you use it and exercise it.

It’s better to start off with your creative time first thing in the morning. It’s too tempting to get stuck into answering emails, meeting deadlines, and socialising. If you schedule your creativity as soon as you wake up, you won’t have any excuses. You should make sure that you embrace that creativity for the whole of your appointment, rather than procrastinating with other things or putting it off to another day.

As Twyla Tharp says: “The routine is as much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration, maybe more. And this routine is available to everyone. Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits.”

Keep inspiration on hand

When you see something that inspires you, try to make sure that you keep it on hand. It is important that you are able to use your inspiration to fuel that creativity. Create a file full of things that inspire you. You can even put together a Pinterest board for different kinds of inspiration. These could be shoot locations, make up looks, styles of portraiture, poses for models to try, and so on. When you are ready for your appointment with creativity, look up your inspiration and see what it sparks. Make a habit of collecting inspiration whenever you see it. Even if you spot something while you are out and about, like the particular shade of a sunset or an oddly shaped tree, snap a quick shot with your smartphone and save it for later.

Train your eyes

One of the key things that you need to do as a creative photographer is to be able to see the potential best shot in any scene. You can train your eye for this by trying to frame shots as often as possible, even when you are not behind the camera. On your commute, while waiting in line, during a lazy evening at home – these are all opportunities to train your eyes. Look around and imagine how you would photograph the scene. After a while, you will find that your knack for composition is improving. Seeing the potential in everything will make you more open to inspiration. It will also make your photography that much better when you are actually taking pictures. Once you get the hang of “looking” this way, you will find that you do it all of the time. That’s when the door to creativity will always be open.

Experiment with new ideas

Doing the same thing over and over again will not make you creative. If you are always taking your photographs in the same way, you will eventually reach a plateau: a place where you cannot improve. If you have mastered one particular shot, that’s great for you – but it is going to get boring. Creativity is about taking risks, trying new things, and thinking outside the box. You can improve your style and create exciting work by experimenting. What happens if you use a colour filter on your photographs? What if you change your editing style and do something different? How about using a different lens, or shooting in a way that you aren’t supposed to?

It doesn’t just have to be photography that you experiment with. What about drawing on your images, either digitally or on prints? You can try making items such as props or jewellery to feature in your images. If you aren’t great with your hands yourself, you could commission artists to create pieces for you, based on your ideas and inspiration. Don’t settle for sitting still – this is stifling to creativity and could leave you with a very dull portfolio. If you are always experimenting and trying new things, then you will have made creativity into a lifelong habit.

Share your work

Any artist craves feedback, and sharing your work is the best way to get that. Praise in particular can go a long way towards fuelling your creativity and keeping you on the right track. When you have finished your appointment with your creativity, share what you have achieved. In the world of modern social networking, that is easier to do than ever. This will help you to stay determined, and will give you the momentum to come back tomorrow and complete that appointment with even more gusto than before.

Once your creativity becomes a habit, you will be able to become one of those people we talked about right at the start. Even when it doesn’t come easily, your creativity will still come – which is better than waiting around for it to never come at all. That’s the beauty of having a creative habit.

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