Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Let's Get Creative


Creative Differences

Indy realized that her best friend would always be the one who was looked at. It was crazy to try to compete.

My illustration for Rookie, 2013.
"Creative Differences" via

 I’m not the “artistic” one in my family. My drawings consist of pathetic flowers and lame stick figures drawn in 9.7 seconds without a thought. Meanwhile, my brother can sit for hours and create the most amazing drawings, paintings, and sketches. Over the years, I learned to accept my lack of talent, thinking that being “artsy” was a characteristic limited to being an artist.

   Even now, I excel in the Social Studies/English classes while I plow sluggishly through math courses. My only justification was this “left brain, right brain” notion, where logic and creativity fight for dominance. So there I am, a pitiful artist but characteristically and supposedly artistic. My right brain endeavors were doomed to always stay in my brain and never become real world ones. But after taking psychology this year, it became clear these dual systems work together, and left brain versus right brain notion is a complete myth.

  We use both sides of our brain fully for every task we complete, so any person who chooses to scrap the analytical v. artistic myth can strengthen and cultivate their own creativity, and here’s a place to start.


  A. Even if I carry paintbrushes in my pocket, move to a scenic place, and go to an arts festival every weekend in spring, I will never become an artist, since it will never be my kind of thing. But I've found alternative ways to express myself (as trite as it sounds). My notebook, collages, style, and even this blog are creative outlets even though they aren't your typical artistic endeavors. But the process is the same. I found that I liked blogging, I worked to improve my blogging skills, I post as much as I can, and publishing posts always gives me satisfaction. Artists like making art, they improve thier skills, they produce multiple products, they are satisfied with one and continue on.  If you make something, no matter the medium, you are creative, simple as that.

   B. Let's go back and completely obliterate this left brain- right brain argument so that it's never an excuse for anyone ever again:) First, here is some factual proof: one, two, three using a PLOS ONE  study. But it's faults are also illustrated throughout history. Leonardo Da Vinci, for example, is celebrated as a fantastic artist, but also as a inventor, scientist, astronomer, mathematician, musician, and much more. Da Vinci was talented in a number of diverse fields including painting and math, which are, by our culture's standards, "opposing interests". But being analytical does not conflict with being creative. They are not mutually exclusive. The process of trying new methods, critiquing your own work, and figuring out what works best is the scientific method.

A. In my thrilling summer reading novel How to Read Literature Like a Professor the author emphasized that no work written is truly original, there is only one story, and every book stems from that one story. The author of each story practices "amnesia," where they pick elements from other works to include in their own. I think this same principle can be applied universally. Since no idea is wholly original you must ask yourself, what do I like? Asking yourself these types of questions will help you focus on what you want in your own work. This combination of elements makes the work your own unique creation.
   B. There are so many publications, websites, blogs and books to draw inspiration from. Every week I read Time, catch up on The Atlantic, and browse The New Yorker. Just in these three sources, there are new ideas, perspectives, and stories that provide insight into the world around me. Exploring a vast range of subjects helps broaden your outlook, and even if that doesn't directly help you make something, it is a consistent stream of inspiration that could lead to something more (see: Rookie and The Adroit Journal). Everything is inspiration if you keep your mind open. Worst comes to worst, you can use the awesome graphics and pictures to make collages.

   C. Discussing a subject with someone who is just as passionate about it as you are has got to be one of the giddiest and best feelings of all. Seriously, just talking to other people can make you consider certain aspects of something that you may have otherwise overlooked or ignored. Hannah and I are constantly sending each other links to funny pictures, DIYs, and other nonsense to mull over. We edit each other's work and formulate new ideas and projects to complete (we're still working on having a craft day). And if you are saying, "Anastasia, none of my friends care about what I do!!!" my response will be opening up Google for you, because the Internet (ex. Tumblr) is a magical place where you can find new obsessions and people who are also obsessed with them and you can all be obsessed together YAY!

A. Keep a notebook handy. Most of the time you won't know when you'll be struck with a creative instinct or stumble upon a phrase that you just have to keep. My journal has watercolor madness, cutouts from magazines, some poems, and lists of things that I want to remember or come back to. Although some (most) of my notes are unintelligible to someone who opens it up, my notebook is something I can always go back to and be like "Oh yeaaa, I want to watch that again" or "I wanna practice my signature again because it still takes too long." If notebooks aren't your thing just use a school notebook to doodle and stuff, use the Notes thing on iPhones, write in an agenda or planner, whatever works for you. Fill it up with whatever you want to, sometimes the best ideas come from what you've forgotten.

   B. Try to make stuff a few times a week. Just yesterday, Hannah sent me a photo of earrings she made out of old plastic dinosaurs she found (they're really cute). I've made rings out of scrap wire, just with some pliers. Even fortune tellers are good. If you're just sitting around, grab a piece of paper and just start writing. Chances are it won't be the best thing you've ever created but it's a place to start. Write about your day, someone you just met, what you want to accomplish that day, or anything else you feel like. You can also collaborate with other people. Although group projects can be a hassle sometimes (especially when you are the only one actually doing the work ugh), they force you to adapt and incorporate numerous ideas (and you can always pick your own crafty buddy outside of school). Creating somethings is the best way to start being creative.

 C. On those days when I've procrastinated an English essay and I have one night to do it, I always manage to get writer's block. I will stare aimlessly at a blank word document saying to myself you need to start writing, like now. And then another half hour passes. At that point, I'll just take a break, walk around, take a nap, watch a video, and most of the time an idea will come to me when I'm doing a different activity. Just let some of your ideas flow. First drafts are drafts for a reason and peer editing exists because sometimes we can't see a problem even if it's really obvious. Don't force yourself to have a fantastic idea and stick with it 100%.
A friend of mine introduced me to this writing technique for writer's block: Madman, Architect, Carpenter, and Judge. The madman just writes whatever ideas come to mind, writing like crazy, the architect manages the paragraphs to form something that resembles an argument, then the carpenter investigates the sentence structure and "nails" ideas together, then the judge inspects the work checking for the details. This technique has help me conquer the hardest part of making stuff: starting. And once you do, you're in your own bubble, content, focused on what you are making, at peace, and happy. 

I hoped this helps dissolve the stigma that only certain people are born artists.This is just my philosophy on creativity and personal advice. Is there anything that always helps you get the creative juices flowing? 

Happy creating,


  1. This was a great read! I'm just like you–– I was always awful at math but social studies was SO easy for me.

    1. Thanks! I typically just play up my strengths in those English/Social Studies classes, and have to work harder to grasp math concepts.

  2. I too love English and Social Studies, but basically fail in the artistic department (think stick figures and birds that look like the letter "M"). Glad I'm not alone there :)

    Kristine - My Little Box of Tricks

    1. I do that "M" thing too!! There will always be people who struggle in the arts department, but it's just a matter of finding what they like and pursuing that.

  3. This was so interesting to read! I've always tried to force myself to be creative in ways that really just don't work for me and I've only just realised recently that it is probably one of the easiest ways to stump my creativity. Thanks for sharing your amazing work :)


    1. It's definitely hard to be creative when you are forcing yourself. Inspiration sometimes comes when you least expect it. I'm so happy you enjoyed reading this, I hoped it helped!!


You have feedback? We want to hear it!