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Can’t get out of a rut? Rethink creativity!

Sometimes we do very creative things, and then we stop, and we don’t understand why. We feel “less” creative, less inspired.

Maybe the problem is how we think of creativity?

Maybe there are two ways of thinking of creativity: Creativity can be like a field of diamonds, that you dig in. Every gem you uncover can be one of a kind, or you can find a small cluster of similar ones, or even a large vein – but the field can also be completely exploited, and run empty. You may find a stone you really like and then lose your faith because you cannot find any more like it.

Creativity can also be like an orchard and you are the owner and the keeper and the person who firsts enjoys its fruits. You plant the trees and bushes that you prefer, that produce the fruits that you like the best. Watering the garden, keeping the soil rich and fertile, looking out for pests and thieves: this is all up to you. Your mind and your palate change, and it’s normal, and you may decide to replace some trees with other trees, and you may even decide you like one variety so much that you want all of your orchard to be devoted to that tree. It’s all good, it’s all up to you.

If the way we think of creativity is similar to the field of diamonds, it’s maybe akin to the romantic idea of the genius. It seems to connect with the elevated and precious dimension of creativity: yet, if we feel stuck, it’s not very helpful. We might get drawn to look for another field, or if that is not an option all we can do is put that field to another use – which will probably make us sad.

The second way of thinking of creativity is more empowering. It might take off some of the magical aura we usually associate with creativity, but it keeps us going. If creativity is our garden, then we are responsible for that garden. If we are stuck in a rut, we are not helpless. If there’s a drought, we know we have to find water. If something or someone takes our fruits away, we have to make that stop. And when we grow something that we really like, we know what made us happy and what we need to make it happen again.

This image is a very creative one that I created with a model and a friend of mine, Lauren Garcia, at a studio in DTLA.

I was thinking how to get creative like this again, and I realized I was looking at creativity the wrong way. If you are not feeling creative right now, I hope I was able to give you a tiny bit of inspiration as well! 

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