As a professional musician, instrument distributor, or music store retailer, your day-to-day success depends on your creative state.
That energy drives innovation and helps you see different angles to various problems to come up with out-of-the-box solutions. Creative energy reduces stress and anxiety and unlocks feeling of well-being.
But what happens when your muse eludes you? Boredom sets in? Monotony? You can’t buy a good idea?
Fear not. There are ways to keep the creative juices flowing and avoid falling into the funk of ho-hum.
Get back to nature
Even if the great outdoors is limited to your backyard or park down the street, get up and get out regularly. Do it with purpose. As the poet wrote, “Sometimes you get shone the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.”
Don’t just breathe, taste the air (if it’s fresh, all the better; if it’s not, it will be different tomorrow.) Feel the warmth of the sun or the damp coolness, as the season dictates. Don’t just see. Look. Nothing is the same as it was yesterday.
Even just sitting in your backyard can expose you to a creative symphony—listen to the birds chirping, watch a squirrel traverse a tree branch, observe a bee collecting nectar from a flower close by.
Connecting with nature just a few minutes every day could help your creativity blossom!
Motivation follows action, so get that blood pumping and your creative energy will follow along.
Sitting and brooding does not ignite a creative spark. Even if you’ve been couch-potato-ing since the government locked down the world for two weeks to flatten the curve, it takes only 20 seconds of courage to turn off the tv, put down the Cheesy Poofs and move.
Creativity involves the mind and body. Exercise improves circulation and gets more oxygen to your brain. It’s not uncommon to feel creatively energized after a run or yoga session. A regular exercise routine can also help sustain your creative energies.
Shake it up. You don’t have to trudge around the block every day to get your 10,000 steps. Ride a bike. Take a swim. Shoot some hoops. Jump rope. You’re creative. Figure it out.
Having said all that, the opposite of moving is a creative energy booster as well.
As much as the mind facilitates creative expression, it helps from time to time to shut it off, calm it, and clear it. It’s like when you forget the name of a song you like. It’s stuck on the tip of your tongue, until you finally give up and forget about it, and POW, you suddenly remember.
It’s a similar process with creativity. Overthink something and creativity alludes you. Meditation can provide the space to allow creativity to manifest. Where does creativity come from? Well, that’s another article for another time since we’d be broaching universal consciousness and other such weighty concepts.
Don’t make meditation more complicated than it is. Simply sit comfortably in a quiet space, back straight with legs crossed or feet flat if you’re more comfortable sitting in a chair, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Breath naturally. Don’t try to control your breath though you’ll probably find that your breathing slows down as you become more relaxed. You might even plug your buds or phones into some ambient tones.
Thoughts will pop up. Recognize them and let them go as best you can. Get back to your breath. Consciously feel your muscles relax. We carry a lot of stress in our faces and shoulders. Try it for a few minutes every day for a week. Even skeptics can become believers after giving meditation a fair chance.
There are a ton of videos, books, apps, and other resources regarding meditation. Most important is to do it regularly and consistently. Try to meditate at the same time on the days when you meditate. It probably won’t take long to notice the correlation between meditation and increased creative energy.
Try something different. The legendary rock guitarist Jerry Garcia kept his musical creativity at peak form by painting.
So, what if you haven’t picked up a brush since Miss Thistlebottom’s fourth grade art class introduced you to tempura. Get some crayons and a coloring book and have at it. Don’t overthink it—just see what comes. Color outside the lines if you are so inspired. Creativity is not limited to one form of expression.
Also, if you’ve been rehearsing day in and day out, give yourself a break and visit a museum or take a pottery class. Different types of art can serve as inspiration and motivation for your own creative endeavors.
Here’s another fun trick for musicians and singers—switch genres. If you’re an opera singer, take a popular rap song and operaize it! If you’re the lead guitar in a heavy metal band, try playing a real headbanger using a classical style. Have fun. Play. Just don’t be surprised if you feel more creative afterward!
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: Read a lot and write a lot,” the writer Stephen King writes in On Writing: A Memoir of the Crafts.” Granted, there is a very direct correlation between reading and writing but many of the benefits apply to any creative expression including music or running a music business.
Reading expands cultural horizons, and introduces new ideas, concepts, and approaches. We can travel across continents, deep into the ocean, far out in space, or even back and forth in time. Surely, there are creative nuggets to mine in that process. What should you read? Whatever you want! Granted, engineering manuals may be a bit on the dry side, but there is symmetry and purpose to the content. If that’s not your cup of tea, there are a bazillion other genres to try.
Don’t settle for anything less than your creative self! And don’t be worried if you run into creative walls from time to time. Your muses are simply waiting for you to wake up your creativity!