Being Creative as a Creative

Harnessing creativity is a recurring subject of self help books and TED talks. It’s telling that so many people have taken a stab at finding the secret to creating creativity. Well, here’s the latest attempt.

I currently work as the only creative in my department. This means not only do I design all of the graphics/flyers and take/edit the photos, but I also am in charge of distributing them through different mediums (email marketing campaigns, social media channels, etc.). Being an all in one creative wears me out, to put it simply.

I consider myself a creative person, not a person with a creative job. At least I did before I began this job. My outside-of-work creative output has mostly dissolved. This will be approximately my second article in the past four months. I haven’t drawn anything outside of work sketches in months. I haven’t wanted to go exploring with my wife on another photography adventure. I’ve been a bit of a mess lately.

What am I doing to combat that? Admittedly, I’m not doing much. I do plenty of observant, passive creative things. I read a chapter of a book every now and then. I write a half page in my journal once a week or so. I come home and plop myself on my computer or PS4 for an hour or two, after spending all day working on my Mac. I still work out and stay active, although that’s mostly from not wanting to be embarrass myself on the baseball field.

See a pattern? I do. It’s something I’ve known for awhile now. Everything I do lately is half assed, barely attempted, and full of lethargic energy. I’ve complained of being tired lately more than ever before, being sluggish mentally, and lacking motivation to do anything beyond surface level conviction.

Personally, I know where a lot of my lack of creativity stems from. I don’t surround myself in an atmosphere where creativity occurs naturally. Sure, I work in a place (college) where ideas and free thinking are encouraged, and my wife and I work towards making our household the same. However, if I’m only halfway there, I’m only putting in half the effort. I’m only passively participating, instead of being affected by the environment around me.

And why is that?

Because an environment I’m in more often than work or apartment is more toxic than either of those.

My mind and thought process are stuck in a pattern. Patterns aren’t inherently bad – they can be great! This one isn’t. It’s like an assembly line in there nowadays – make that graphic, post that on social media. Slap a logo on it than on to the next one. After five months of this pattern, my creativity doesn’t feel very unique anymore.

I feel more like a person with a creative job than a creative person. And I think I can slowly recapture that by just changing the pattern a bit. I need to increase my creative output. I need to practice. But not just practice to practice, but rather practice to perfect. To make better art. To put a better version of myself out there.

Create for creating sake. Not just create for a paycheck sake. That’s what I’m going on. I need to do more, but do it more meaningfully. I want to make something everyday for the rest of the year.

Let’s see how I do.

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