Using Creativity to Disconnect

By: Heidi

How often do you take the time to disconnect? Like really disconnect away from your phone, computer, constant notifications, and email. In this day and age, we are constantly surrounded by technology as it is how we communicate, used for school, and work. Because of this, we are in constant connection with our friends, social networking notifications, and email. Although this is really beneficial, it can be detrimental to our health as we are always able to be reached nearly 24/7.

Using creativity to disconnect - sketchbook on desk with watercolors

Now that you’re thinking about how often you disconnect, ask yourself, how often do I take the time to slow down. Like really slow down as in the to-do list can wait, the kitchen doesn’t have to be spotless, you didn’t get home as early as you wanted because you stayed after class to catch up with a friend type of slow down.

I wanted to bring this to your attention because I often find myself being in a state of #1 constantly connected to my phone and #2 not always taking the time to slow down.

So you find yourself in the same boat struggling to disconnect and to slow down and enjoy the moment or day that we have.

I propose to you take to make the time in your day whether it be ten minutes or one hour to explore and pursue your creative outlet. Yup. That’s it. A creative outlet. Why? Because all humans, whether you believe it or not, were meant to create. Creating something can mean so many different things. This can consist of dancing, painting, photography, doodling cartoons, playing a musical instrument, baking, gardening, and more. Whatever it is that you choose, allow yourself to have fun with it, share it with others, and not place an expectation on it that it has to be this perfect thing. For example, have you seen the Netflix show ‘Nailed It?’ These people are on a baking competition show trying to recreate these really intricate cakes done by professionals and the people trying to recreate them bake out of a hobby. The thing is, these cakes turn out laughably bad but that’s the point. It doesn’t matter how bad the cakes turn out, they all had fun (or were stressed by the pressures of reality TV…who knows) during the process.

When you become so engaged in an activity you enter ‘flow mode.’ During this flow mode, you lose track of time and get lost in it allowing the pressures and anxiety of daily life to melt away.

It is unfair to deem ourselves as creative or uncreative. You owe it to yourself to make the time to explore a creative outlet as this will allow you to disconnect and be better for your overall wellbeing.

Of Possible Interest:

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Tim Arterbury

The Work of Creativity

By: Emily

Emily's poem

Sometimes creativity comes in exciting spurts, with long in-betweens of staring at a blank canvas or sleeping on our computer keyboard. Moments of inspiration are exhilarating, but the creative process can be wrought with anxiety and therefore takes bravery and endurance. Everyone has the capacity to think creatively. If we are a sum of our life experiences that have shaped us from birth, our perspective is unique. If this is the case, then you have something to share that no one else can offer. Art can be a way to share these viewpoints. Art can also help us see life through a variety of different lenses and wrestle with multiple truths that are sometimes conflicting.

If you are currently an undergraduate artist, actress, designer, director, dancer, choreographer, writer, musician, graphic designer, or photographer you are probably working on mastering your craft as well as building your portfolio. As I have taken classes in digital, applied, and performing arts, I’ve been collecting mantras that have changed how I viewed the creative process. These gems of advice from other artists sum up my four years as an SFA student as well as include some recent advice given by speaker Jonah Lehrer at the Sieur Du Luht Creativity Conference.

Work begets work Learn by doing. Do. Experiment. Play. Be messy. Break the rules. As you create, ideas will come more easily. Remember that moments of creative lucidity or “aha” moments can be few and far between. The work is difficult and scary, but when you start, it might take you in a direction you did not expect.

Don’t cheat yourself out of realizing your full potential. Many of us have been trained to cut corners in school. We do only what is absolutely necessary to get by, but by not taking time to do the best work you can do, you are only letting yourself down. There is no way to unlock your potential if you do not push yourself. At the end of the day, you are going to want a portfolio of work you are proud of. And it will matter much more than a good grade.

Take advantage of opportunities to collaborate. Collaboration can stimulate truly fantastic work. Teaming up with others can reveal blind spots that you were unaware of in your own work. Problems that you were having difficulty solving on your own, can suddenly work themselves out of a tangle. As new voices with a unified sense of purpose and aesthetic are added to the mix, the work can become richer- like overtones in a piece of choral music.

Expose yourself to new experiences & learn everything that interests you. You put out what you take in. The more you take in, the more you have to draw from. Learn from your predecessors and masters of your craft. You have more artistic freedom than many of the greats, more freedom than Michelangelo and Raphael. You also have more artistic freedom in this country than many other places in the world. And in a university setting, you are protected from certain pressures and criticism that exists in the “real world”. These are the perfect conditions to see how far you can fly, so don’t hold back now.

And at the end of the day, get back up. Sometimes you have an image in your mind, but when it comes to implementation, nothing you do can quite reach your ideals. You take a risk and make your art and some people criticize what feels like an extension of yourself. You compete for a grant, or try to get published, or pitch a show to a producer, or submit a film to a festival and you get rejected. Van Gogh was rejected countless times and never sold a painting in his life. So you take the fall, you feel vulnerable and injured. And you get back up, because failing isn’t actually failing in the arts. It’s an integral part of the creative process.

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