Summer’s here, giving us warm, long summer days. But it’s no time to be lazy.
“Summer is a great time for creative experiments as we often have more free time, can be outdoors in nature or explore a city or town, or possibly travel,” according to Gail McMeekin, creativity coach and author the best-selling books The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women and The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women.
Below, McMeekin and Brecia Kralovic-Logan, an award-winning fiber artist and creativity coach, share their favorite creativity-boosting activities.
1. Make a list of creative experiences you’d like to have.
“Creativity is about making new connections,” so anytime you expose yourself to new sights or situations, you’re “fuel[ing] [your] creative fire,” McMeekin said.
If you’re working on a creative project, plan a trip or outing that somehow relates to it, she said. For instance, McMeekin’s client is going on a three-day excursion with a fisherwoman because she has a fisherwoman as a character in the book she’s writing. Another client is taking a glass-blowing workshop at an art summer program because it’s always fascinated her, McMeekin said.
2. Create from nature.
“Pick a favorite or a brand-new natural setting and collect natural items like sea glass or grapevines and make a collage out of them, or a wreath or jewelry, or display them in a beautiful basket,” McMeekin said. Collect plants and flowers and press them into a book or piece of art, she said.
3. Create a mandala.
Kralovic-Logan suggested browsing through magazines and cutting out anything that makes you smile or feel joyful. (Her favorite magazine to use is National Geographic.) Next, she said to take a piece of heavy paper and cut out a large circle. Pick the image that strikes you most, and glue it in the middle. Use the other images to fill up the rest of the mandala. As Kralovic-Logan said, “Don’t think too much. Let your intuitive wisdom guide you.” After you’re done, hang it somewhere visible.
4. Bring your artmaking outside. “
Doing our art outdoors brings a new dimension to it,” McMeekin said. So whether you’re painting, writing or quilting, she suggested taking your projects outside. You may be surprised just how natural settings inform your work, she said.
5. Use crayons.
According to Kralovic-Logan, playing with crayons helps to awaken our senses. Don’t have crayons? She suggested buying the biggest set you can find and keeping some at home, at work and even in your car. Use coloring books or reuse newspapers, ads or envelopes, she said. “Don’t let the lines limit your creativity, and experiment with your color choices. There is no right and wrong when coloring.”
6. Buy a new toy.
Find a toy that’s a metaphor for your creative project, McMeekin said. Doing so actually helped her emerge from a creative rut. While she was working on a training program (and totally stuck), McMeekin purchased a long caterpillar with links. “After playing with it for a week, I realized that I needed to create linking sections with props and visuals for the program. It worked really well and [it] was fun.”
7. Organize your workspace.
Summer is a good time to get organized because you usually have more time – or at least you tend to feel more relaxed. Kralovic-Logan suggested organizing your workspace (or wherever you do your creative work) into different areas for your different processes. For instance, you might have one area specifically for your sewing machine and supplies, and another area for designing your work, she said.
8. Listen to your surroundings.
Wherever you are, simply listen, Kralovic-Logan said. “Try not to identify [the sounds], just listen in a curious way as if you have never heard those sounds before. Close your eyes and let your sense of hearing interpret the world for you.”
9. Visit unlikely places.
You can find inspiration anywhere from Home Depot to the zoo, Kralovic-Logan said. Just be sure to bring your camera, she added.
What about you?
What are your favorite creativity-boosting activities to do in the summer?