“Your brain gets too comfortable in your everyday surroundings. You need to make it uncomfortable. You need to spend some time in another land, among people that do things differently than you. Travel makes the world look new, and when the world looks new, our brains work harder.” -Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
Comfortability — it’s every creative person’s greatest foe, a nemesis as old as time. It robs you of your creative passion and zeal. The life you once looked at as a blazing canvas of color turns dark and gray. Comfortability is not an enemy to the creative business alone, but it is most deadly in our business. In the creative fields, you have to be just that — creative. The mundane patterns of everyday life don’t tend to cater toward the best environment for original thought. Inspiration, most often, tends to be triggered by new experiences, revelations, and ideas. If you allow comfortability to take ahold of you, your creativity will, like a candle, flicker and burn out. Here’s my strategy for keeping my creative juices going in my normal routine.
Adventure is never out of reach.
Do something crazy — or crazy for you, anyway.
The moment you start to feel comfortable, stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath, and then do something crazy. Experience a culture that you never have before. Go on a road trip to an unknown destination. Meet new people and see new places. New experiences plant little seeds of inspiration. Instead of trying to fabricate an adventure out of thin air, have one. Expand your perspective on the world by volunteering somewhere. Meet people with backgrounds far different than yours. Step outside of your comfort zone to do something you normally wouldn’t. Adventure is never out of reach.
Switch it up
There’s always a way to expand your creative palette. If you’re a cinematographer, try making a short film. Maybe try out photography or experiment with various cinematography styles. If you’re a graphics artist, expand your knowledge more on typography, or switch from doing motion graphics to still graphics. Try something completely different altogether! If you’re normally an editor, try writing. If you usually write, play around on Adobe Illustrator. There’s so much to learn and explore.
In a nutshell, everyone faces this problem at one time or another. We must be on our guard for comfortability and end it right when it starts to appear. So if you, like others, struggle with falling into ruts, don’t worry. Just remember — stop, take a deep breath, and do something crazy.
Christine Roe is a 20-year-old Digital Marketing apprentice at The Center for Creative Media, who also enjoys editing, photography, and writing. She is from the hockey-loving, maple syrup drinking, ice-cold land of Canada — though ironically hates both hockey and snow. Christine’s long-term goal is to become a missionary and using her gifts and abilities to draw people closer to God.