5 Tips for Staying Creative
(This post accompanies Gab & Jam 66 5 Tips for Staying Creative:
If you’ve been around for more than a minute, you know that staying creative is our JAM! Having said that, we are always on the lookout for ways to stay in the creative zone.
In this post--that accompanies Gab & Jam Episode 66--we look at a few of our top tips that have served us well. Since this list is by no means comprehensive, we welcome any additions you can suggest.
These tips are not listed in any particular order, since all have served us equally well. Take into account these tips for staying creative:
Tip #1: STAY OPEN TO NEW EXPERIENCES
One of the prime ways to keep in that creative flow is to try something completely new, like travel or watching movies or listening to a completely unfamiliar type of music. Somehow, taking your mind off of your own work, but exposing yourself to other types of creative stimuli helps re-generate your own creativity. We wouldn’t steer you wrong; it really works.
This is great for imbuing you with creativity and/or with giving you that creative passion back.
Prefer to watch the video for Gab & Jam Episode 66 5 Tips for Saying Creative? Here it is.
Tip #2: CREATE REGULARLY
As we’ve discussed previously, having a habit of creating is the best way to invite your muse to visit more regularly. Have a schedule where you give yourself time to exercise that creative muscle of producing something on a time-frame. Even if you don’t like what you have produced, there is something about having that habit—and producing SOMETHING—that will allow you to produce at least kernels of ideas that turn into your best work on a more regular basis.
–Personally, I (Vox), used to wait in order to “feel it” before creating until I found myself years later not having produced any songs, poems, lyrics, etc. Now, not only do I journal every single day, but I also partner with Bruce for our song-a-week—and what has now turned into songclip-a-week challenge—where every single week, we upload one song clip of a work in progress to our social media outlets (see all social media links at the bottom of this post) and one completed song to SoundCloud (http://bit.ly/prejippiesoundcloud). Now, I feel constantly creative in both big and small ways. This challenge alone has brought me back to co-writing in what has amounted to a heap of new songs, as well as has helped me discover some of the older ones that we are dusting off from the vault and have breathed new life into, so I am thankful for that. I said all that to say that I am living proof that having a schedule for it is a legit way to keep creating at the center of your universe and will help you produce art that you like more often.
For more on our Song-a-Week commitment, check out our “19 for 2019” episode.
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Tip #3: TAKE A BREAK
Though this might feel counter-intuitive, taking a break from that thing that you are creating will help you work through the piece better. Sometimes, a few hours away—or a day or two away—from your fledgling piece will allow you to see if with fresh eyes or ears and let you furnish ideas you didn’t even consider when you were previously working on it. A nap, the football game, cutting the lawn; any of these are great ways to get out of your own head for a time, so that when you go back to work on it, the pieces seem to fit together seamlessly. Bruce swears by this philosophy when it comes to mixing a song.
Tip #4: BE INSPIRED BY OTHERS
It is helpful to your process of creating if you take time to allow others to inspire you. Other folks’ music, art, books, movies, philosophical conversations—even—can give you just the idea that sets your creative machine in gear. –For Bruce, it was learning about the teachings of Carl Jung, when he was in college; and for me, it was falling down the Bjork video vortex that sparked my interest in all things strange and unusual. Needless to say, for the both of us, these influential thoughts found their way into our individual—and now, our collective—art. In fact, dare we say it? Always stay open to learn from other people (even IF you feel that you are the better musician, songwriter, artist, etc.). You actually give yourself a gift when you let others sprinkle a little of their magic on your proverbial Fruit Loops, so let that shit happen and reap the benefits. It’s a great way to stay creative.
Tip #5: Bonus Tip (straight from video): YOU’RE NEVER TOO GOOD TO LEARN and ALLOW OTHER PEOPLE TO TEACH YOU SOMETHING YOU DON’T KNOW.
Bruce gives the example of a high school bassist—whom Bruce KNEW he was better than in terms of his bass playing—who added something extra when playing the song “777-9311.” Bruce tells that he created an entire song just based on that seemingly tiny little bass lick, because Bruce was digging that extra little something that it added to the song.
Tip #6: COLLABORATE
Even in a more solitary creative environment, find ways that you can collaborate with others. Many people are like us and sitting in our basement and writing songs in a bubble. However, every now and again, we will invite people over to jam, ask folks to add a part to a song (here is the link for Alan Day’s collaboration) and just find ways to try to allow others to share ideas for a mix (here is the link for Craig Anderton’s mix for “I’m Ready”) or an arrangement (add in link for UR re-mix). All of these are beneficial for making a more enriched final creative project. We have noticed that every time we decide to be deliberate in our collaboration, we are not disappointed. In fact, some of our collaborations have been some of our best creative—not to mention, networking—blessings. It has gotten to the point that we look for ways to invite people in to contribute to our creative product and to be honorary members of our community. Since we view music as a language and it’s really nice to have conversations with others. We suggest the same for you.
What do you think?
What do you think should be added to our list of “Ways to Stay Creative”? Please share your ideas in the comments below.
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