Written by Sarah Yoon
If you’re cynical about resolutions, you’ve a right to be. January rolls around and you hear your friends’ shining resolutions. GYM ads pour out and health foods get their own marketing kick—at least until the rush fades.
Living well is important, but for an artist, a healthy life means healthy creativity. If you’re strategic about growing throughout 2015, you can become one of the statistically improbable. You can choose one main goal and break it into bite size pieces, the smaller the better. But creativity doesn’t happen on its own; it takes focus, discipline, and a little bit of risk.
1. Explore a New Medium
It’s easy to settle into your niche and let your creative outlets narrow. Maybe you’re a writer who has settled on 3rd person long-form fiction. Well, it’s time to read through the major poets of the 20th century, or maybe try writing a parcel of 1st person short stories. If you’re an artist, break out of oils and play around with watercolors. Buy a pile of discount fabric and sew your own sculptures—or, well, plush toys. Exploring other mediums gives your creativity a chance to stretch and offers a new perspective on your work.
2. Travel Widely
You daydream about flying to foreign countries or cruising around continents–then you check your savings, count vacation days, and feel your heart sink. When resources are limited, you needn’t go far to travel widely. Experience the world by starting with all of the local attractions that you’ve never gotten around to. When you’re done being a tourist in your own city, look up anything within a 2-5 hour drive that’s worth a day trip. If you’ve got a few holiday weekends coming up, grab some road trip pals, set an itinerary, and you’ll find how quickly the cultural landscape can change.
3. Break Inhibitions
Think through everything that scares you about being an artist—having others critique your work, taking a formal class, or going to a professional conference. Once you’ve thought through your inhibitions, consider which is most important to remove and set up a game plan. You can incinerate that fear by taking measured strides and inviting your community to help out. Have some friends join you throughout the process. If you’re afraid of making bad art, start breaking barriers by inviting them over for wine and a horrible drawing contest.
4. Finish a Personal Project
For some, art is just another way to pay the rent. It has become professional and impersonal. To keep your creativity fresh, brainstorm a few personal projects. You can commit to a small endeavor, such as a drawing challenge. Or you can focus on a long-term career changer, such as transmedia storytelling, which may take years of planning in your non-work hours. No matter which you choose, set realistic expectations by keeping your busy work seasons and daily hours in mind.
Want to foster your creativity in 2015? Keep an eye out for news on Sarah Yoon’s FireStarters, coming soon.