You were once there. You had it all – awesome twists to the game. Genius, innovative ideas that flowed as smooth as a Greenwich Village poet at a peace rally.
But then it all stopped, and now you’re freaking. Newsflash – this kind of stuff happens to everyone: musicians, painters, your kid’s fourth grade teacher and even high rise office managers. Our creativity fountain clogs up like the tip of a bottle of liquid squeeze glitter. Your game isn’t called out, so relax already.
In order to get back on track, you have to go back to that bottle of squeeze glitter. The only way to free it up is to remove the lid, turn it upside down and poke the gucky stuff out of the top of the hole with a pin. The creative process works the same way. You have to go the opposite route to purge out the guck.
I call it connecting with your alter ego. The side of you that rarely gets attention. First of all, ditch those first instincts, they have no use here. Now, take your middle name and become a new person! Jot down personality traits about this person – things that you secretly yearn for (or have always wanted to try), but aren’t practicall. Maybe they don’t work for the current you, but they will work for your alter ego. Once you can get in that mindset of a different person, the world, as you know it will change.
Spend one day as the new you. Look at the spectrum of your life – one day is not a big deal. And it’s not like you have to strut down the street like Jan Brady in that big Afro wig. Just keep the image in your mind. Practice the thoughts and ideas this person would have – see the world from their point of view. I betcha a million flat-back crystals you’ll discover new meanings, notice new types of designs, maybe even hook up with some new pals.
Once you allow yourself to connect with your alter ego, here are five ways to make the most of it. Before you start this exercise, take a journal with you, so you can jot down all the magnificent treasures you come across. When you are finished, you’ll see how you’ve unclogged the stale guck that was holding you back!
1. Make a collage or shadow box dedicated to your alter ego. Gather up magazine photos, phrases and pictures of you. Grab a piece of construction paper and a glue stick and go to town. If you’re a scrapper – perfecto! Make a spread based on it. Hang your finished collage or shadow box up so you can look at it the next time you feel like you are in a slump.
2. Once you know about this person, do things they would do. Go see a movie you normally wouldn’t go to. Visit a record store and listen to all the discs that you would normally overlook. Watch TV shows the normal you would snub. You’ll be surprised at how many entertaining angles you’ve been missing out on.
3. Act the opposite of the normal you. If you are a chatter cheerleader, keep quiet and reflect – take a yoga class for a day. If you are an exercise freak, go lay in the grass at the park and just do nothing but feel the softness of the lawn against your body and stare up at the clouds. If you’re a homebody, go read a book at a coffeehouse, or join a conversation group there. Better yet, go check out a live band – support your city’s local music scene!
4. Keep track of what emotions you feel. What made you gasp? What made you say, “Awwwww…” Why did they make you feel that way? These kinds of thoughts will come in handy next time you are art your art table and thinking “Hmmm. What should I make, what should I theme it around?” You can say, “Hey! I know! I’ll make a fairy sculpture from polymer clay in honor of that weird psychic lady I met at the bookstore!”
5. Have an alter ego party with your friends. Use Step One as the foundation. Everyone meets at one place and bring crafty supplies. Try to keep the collages secret from each other until the end of the meeting. Have one person hold them up, one at a time, and have people guess which alter ego belongs to which person.
Peace, love, and glitter!