Creativity can seem like an elusive thing. And it triggers many can’ts — as in I can’t be creative. I can’t draw. I can’t write. I can’t make anything.
But the kicker is that you can. You can express your creativity in oh-so-many ways. That’s why I love interviewing a variety of individuals, everyone from photographers to coaches to artists to authors, on their creative process and inspiration. Everyone has their own approaches, routines, muses and creations.
This month I’m pleased to present my interview with Jess Greene, the founder of Seek Your Course, a website that features creative courses and workshops. It’s essentially one big hub for creativity. Workshops and classes are a wonderful way to discover your inner creative, spark your imagination and play. (And we know play for adults is powerful.)
I love Greene’s site and her emphasis on empowering everyone to engage their creativity and craft inspired lives. She also pens a super helpful blog on creativity.
And she’s an artist herself, working in encaustic and book arts. Greene lives in western Massachusetts with her husband and two dogs.
1. Do you incorporate creativity-boosting activities into your daily routine? If so, what activities do you do
Yes. I watch TED talks, browse through blogs, take long showers filled with brainstorming, journal, go for walks, and go to the gym. Those things all help me be more creative and loosen the flows of ideas. But I mix it up. I don’t do the same thing every day.
2. What are your inspirations for your work?
As the founder of Seek Your Course, my inspiration comes from the powerful creative work that so many people are putting out into the world via their blogs and classes. I am constantly inspired by the beauty that I get to be part of.
As a painter I am inspired by common human experiences of relationships, growing older, emotional reactions, and our movements across the planet. I love working with the shape of a house and map-like markings.
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 tend to pack my schedule too tight for any mysterious spark of creativity to have room to play. Time and to-do lists can kill you if you don’t manage them right.
4. How do you overcome these obstacles?
I try to recognize that I am more creative and productive when I have time to do things like go for a walk, go to yoga class, and cook myself a nice lunch. I set alarms and timers to remind myself to take breaks. It’s all about whether or not I remember how hard it is to work without creative breaks.
5. What are some of your favorite resources on creativity?
Books! I have many art-related books, most of which are mostly visual and less text. Flipping through them helps me maintain a creative spirit. I also recently started buying books on the subject of creativity, but I haven’t started reading them yet. One in particular that I am excited about is The Creative Habit. It is on my must-read list for 2013.
6. What is your favorite way to get your creative juices flowing?
Taking a break from my work to make a stunning meal from scratch. Something about chopping vegetables and smelling the melting butter gets me in a creative mood.
7. What’s your advice for readers on cultivating creativity?
Break up your day as best you can. Mix it up. I know many people have limited flexibility with their jobs, but try to work from different places, get a walk in the middle of the day, or at least get decent food to keep you going.
8. Anything else you’d like readers to know about creativity?
Everyone is creative. I hear people say all the time, “Oh, but I’m not creative.” That’s ridiculous. To be creative is to have your own thoughts and to engage your creativity is to share your thoughts and be heard and acknowledged. Everyone needs opportunities to have their own thoughts be acknowledged for them. So make sure you make that happen for yourself.