5 Ways to Cultivate Creativity in 2018

Artwork: Le singe peintre The Monkey Painter, follower of Ferdinand van Kessel, ca. 17th century. Courtesy of the Public Domain Review.

As we kick off a new year with fresh spirits and good energy, we are enter into 2018 with positive vibes and a commitment to living out best life. While the change of date can kick start our will and desire, the best way to cultivate personal growth is to transform our thinking and our habits. As Andy Warhol wisely observed, “They say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”

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With that in mind, Crave has prepared a list of things you can do right now to be the change you want to see in this world by enhancing your creative powers and nourish your soul.

Embrace Change

Many people fear change because they don’t trust themselves to be competent or confident in a new environment as it challenges them to start fresh, relying only on the wisdom and knowledge they have acquired and dealing with the invariable ego bruises along the way.

By avoiding change, people stagnate, becoming complacent and resigned to the forces of fate. Yet the fact of reality is, change is the only constant in life. If you don’t let go, you will get dragged. It’s really your choice. At a certain point, it pays to take your life into your own hands.

Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Courtesy of the Public Domain Review

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Change is hard. This is true. The best way to get good at it is to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. While a comfort zone has its appeal, it ultimately causes shrinkage and atrophy.

The best way to energies your creative powers is to see life from a new vantage point. Going outside the familiar and engaging with something that feels foreign builds character, courage, and strength. And sometimes it can be a very small act that gets things snowballing into action.

Jan van Eyck. Madonna des Kanonikus Georg van der Paele, 1436. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Read More Books

In an era when people literally scroll through life, there’s nothing quite like stilling the mind and focusing on long form material that requires you give it your full attention for an extended period of time.

Let’s be real. If you’re not a natural bookworm, you probably got turned off to the printed page back when you were in school, when required reading included The Scarlet Letter and The Red Badge of Courage. But when we say “read more books,” we don’t mean canon fodder. Feel free to go outside the box and find something that speaks to your heart.

Maybe it’s Chocolate Cities: The Black Map of American Life (University of California Press) that takes you from Jimi Hendrix’s Seattle to Erykah Badu’s Dallas – or maybe it’s Rose City Vice: Portland in the ‘70s – Dirty Cops and Dirty Robbers (Feral House). It could be your dog-eared copy James Ellroy’s L.A. Confidential (Grand Central) or Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (Henry Holt). The true joy of reading is that it is the gift you give wholly to yourself.

Artemisia Gentileschi, Allegory of Rhetoric, c 1650. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Write It Down

We hear you. Writing can be a chore. Most people hate writing because it requires them to think about what they really believe and how to say it best. We can get hung up on trying to get it right, rather than trying to get it out.

That’s a losing paradigm. Let yourself off the hook. Certainly you think all the time. Words flow through your mind without fail and you’re more than willing to entertain the good, the bad, and the ugly. So why bring any baggage to the written word? Worst case scenario, you write it down and you throw it out. Let me tell you about the countless journals now sitting in recycling centers (and before then, landfills).

Writing can be about posterity, but it doesn’t need to be. It can simply be talk, and we all know, talk is cheap. Let yourself go. See what wants to come out. Let is horrify, scare, amuse, and charm you. Get to know yourself. Keep a journal. Write a blog. Pen a thinkpiece. Scribble a poem. Do all the things you do on social media – but do them for yourself.

Keep a List of Ideas

I love a list because I enjoy crossing things out. I’ll write lists about lists I’m going to make. But not everyone likes a list because a list looks like responsibility. It looks like things you’re supposed to do now, rather than things that could one day be.

The thing about ideas is that if you don’t write them down, they disappear. They popped into your mind so that you could capture them – not necessarily to act upon but to reflect on what could be one day, should you be so inclined.

Many people find it challenging to deal with the fact that they often have ideas long before they can execute them. So they discard these ideas without second thought, not realizing that value of planting these seeds to cultivate and reap the rewards of their creative growth.

We encourage you to write it down, and then file it away. Simply capturing your ideas will make you more cognizant of the way your mind works. Because that is what this list is really about: getting to know the you that is always trying to surface and allow you to create life on your terms.

Miss Rosen is a New York-based journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue, Dazed, AnOther Man, Aperture, and The Undefeated. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.