Creativity needs nudging and nourishing. And learning from others can help to feed and fuel your imagination. That’s why every month we interview a different person on their creative process and inspirations.
This month we talked to Laura Simms, a career coach for creatives. I’ve interviewed Simms for several pieces for Psych Central, and she always offers great insight into creativity and pursuing your passions.
Specifically, Simms helps folks discover and cultivate the work meant just for them through career transition and small business coaching. She’s the creator of Roadmap to Action, and enjoys working with emerging and established creatives through one-on-one coaching. She vlogs weekly from her bird’s egg blue chair at createasfolk.com.
You can learn more about Simms here.
1. Do you incorporate creativity-boosting activities into your daily routine? If so, what activities do you do?
Yes. I don’t do one particular thing every day, but rather call on different activities when I feel like I need them. Exercising, walking around my neighborhood, reading, cooking, listening to NPR, ogling Pinterest, talking with friends and colleagues, working with clients, reading something new—these are all creativity boosters for me.
2. What are your inspirations for your work?
My clients and my online community. I feel lucky to be virtually surrounded by brave, thoughtful, creative thinkers who approach their lives and work with such purpose. It’s a really vibrant bunch from different backgrounds but with a common vision of what’s possible for individuals and our society. Everyone is quietly (or not-so-quietly) doing their part in their own way to serve others and enjoy the ride at the same time.
3. There are many culprits that can crush creativity, such as distractions, self-doubt and fear of failure. What tends to stand in the way of your creativity?
I’m Capricorn all the way, so distractions aren’t too much of a problem. In fact, I’d say laser focus gets in my way. I tend to get a lot done and genuinely enjoy my work, but I don’t do as many just-for-fun creative activities as I’d like. Like drawing something just to draw, or writing a song just because. Those take the back-burner to work-related creative projects.
4. How do you overcome these obstacles?
I try to give myself breathing room — that’s what I really need to relax and create just for the sake of creating. So I try to work unscheduled time into my schedule. Sounds funny now that I say it. But I can easily burn myself out, so planning unstructured time is important, and something I should do more of.
5. What are some of your favorite resources on creativity?
When I need a boost, I turn to Pinterest, Danielle La Porte and my all time favorite visual artist Andy Goldsworthy. You must look him up; he works with all natural materials to create stunning structures, sculptures, and images. His work and philosophy are a true inspiration to me.
6. What is your favorite way to get your creative juices flowing?
My favorite way, which I don’t do often, is going to an acoustic music concert. There’s an immediacy and rawness and intimacy that always gets me charged up and bursting with ideas. Day to day, being outdoors with some blank pages to think onto, or even a good book read, shakes things up for me. So I suppose there’s an element of being rattled, in a good way, that I need.
7. What’s your advice for readers on cultivating creativity?
Find what you like and do it! I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that. When you get bored, you’ll move on. When you get frustrated, you’ll either quit or be compelled to go further. When you get scared, well, keep coming back to it. Failure isn’t so bad once you learn what it feels like; you learn how to land on your butt so it doesn’t hurt so much. There are many second chances. And third, and fourth, and fifth…
8. Anything else you’d like readers to know about creativity?
Creativity is not just for artists. It’s not artsy-fartsy. Creativity = innovation, humanity, finding solutions, and asking the questions that matter. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want artists to be the only ones with that stuff on their plate. It belongs to all of us. And it needs to be taught. And cultivated.
It’s perhaps the most important thing we can teach our children.