In my previous blog 10 Street Photography Resolutions Tips I listed one resolution tip to consider for the new year is to “Be Creative Daily”. I gave you the reason why to be creative and things to consider in finding your creative outlet…but I did not touch upon on “How” to be creative. Here’s my personal input and tips on how to be creative.
Most of us work a 9 to 5 job and therefore can’t or don’t really have time to be creative. The creative light bulb doesn’t just switch on and off very easily. For me, having a family, kids, full time job, side projects, and my street photography endeavors…it is very hard to find the time and make the time. If I go through weeks without producing any content or photographing or really doing anything that stimulates my mind, I get frustrated. I get restless and irritable.
I’ve tried shooting and reading while on my hour lunch break which can be difficult because I skip having a meal in replace of being creative. It is not the most effective unless I have some sort of meal to keep my mind off of food and fully immerse myself into reading (I work across a Barnes & Nobel) or in the moment photographing the busy streets of Honolulu. I stopped a few months ago photographing on my lunch break and rather focus on getting a meal in or take care of errands (more important things I would say).
To find time after work is difficult because it’s family time. Prepping the kids lunches for the following day among other things. Weekend’s there is opportunity but again I would rather spend that time with the kiddos. I try to squeeze an hour or two of shooting on the weekend if the kids are asleep during the afternoon. So that’s just in regards of having time to shoot.
I’ve noticed my mind is most awake or rather my brain is most active and stimulating with ideas at night. Around 10PM. I’ll stay up with a beer and just jot down ideas of anything really, I need to get into the habit of revisiting those ideas so my advice to you is jot down ideas and revisit them the next morning. Why? Ideas from the night may not make the most sense when looking at them in the morning…Ideas are initial feelings and reactors from the brain. So for me the time I’m most creative is at night, for you it may be in the morning, afternoon, before dinner. Whatever it may be find the time you are most creative and allocate that time at least once a week for a few hours.
Find The Place
Once you found the time next is to find the place. Finding the place where your ideas flourish. Maybe it’s in the bathroom while you shower. At a coffee shop. In the car when you’re stuck in morning traffic. For me I’m lucky to have my own living room as the place where I can be at peace and let my creative instinct take over. This is of course once the kids go to sleep, it’s quiet, it’s a bit nippy, I have a single lap on, sitting on my couch with a notepad and a can of beer. I guess you can say I am most creative when I am relaxed and almost not “thinking”…I just let my mind takeover and jot down whatever comes to mind. I think a lot of time thinking actually defeats the purpose, some things just come to you organically and then once that idea comes then you start to dissect it.
Be Around Other Creative People
If you have the luxury to be around other creative people or have friends that are (musicians, painters, photographers, videographers (video is the bastard child of the arts) or writers) then try this. Remember you are what you eat…always surround yourself with other people that are much better than you. Listen more and talk less. Ask for feedback and critique on your work. Ask them what and how do they be creative. My best education is through trial and error and picking the brains of others that are good in what they do. I started blog interviews summer of 2017 to see how other street photographers go about their work. Their approach and creative process and I have always found it inspiring. At the end of each blog I felt even more motivated and felt good about what I was able to accomplish. There are very few people here in Hawaii that shoot street, so to find someone here locally and get a cup of coffee to talk about the genre is far out of reach. So rather I conducted online interviews to not only share with everyone else but to help me either get over that photographer’s block or just to better understand other street shooters point of view.
Everyone is creative and unique. Ultimately it’s about finding balance in one’s life. Trying to find a time and place where you can make the most out of your creativity and maximize your own potential. Indeed, it is very hard to be creative daily or at least be effective with your creativity on a daily basis so in reality find the right time within the day and find the right place and set a side a few hours each week to do so. Even if nothing comes out of it, at least you had the opportunity to reflect on things and keep your mind off of work or other daily stresses.