How To Make Something Out Of Nothing

Courtesy of Dreamstime.com
Nothing can be more frustrating than hitting a creative stump moments before a deadline.  Maybe you are writing a message, putting together a handout, creating a project and you just have…nothing.  You listen to music, you take a walk around the house and you even make yourself a cup of tea and you have…nothing.  We all learned in physics that you can’t make something out of nothing….well, that’s what it feels like; but, then again is that true?
When we are at our worst in the creative department.  When all we have is…nothing how can we create something that’s worthwhile and imaginative?  How do we get through the writer’s block and creative stump?
Over the years, I’ve embraced a few habits that help me.  They aren’t full proof; however, they’ve worked 99% of the time.  When ever I get stuck I’ll:
  • Do A Chore – I’ll wash dishes, clean the bathroom, and even break out the vacuum.  Sometimes our minds are blocked because they are cluttered.  Doing something tangible will lead to doing the intangible. You don’t have to picture yourself cleaning out your mind while you dust the shelves, just do it.  Usually after we accomplish something the satisfaction releases the tension that comes from a creative block.
  • Take Time To Create: Now, you might be asking, “Chris, how can I create when I can’t think of anything?” And what I’m suggesting is you take out a recipe and cook a meal.  Find a picture in a magazine and try to recreate it.  You don’t have to be original to create something beautiful.  By engaging in a “creative” exercises you relax the mind and open it up to new possibilities. 
  • Find Inspiration From Others: This can come in two forms.  It can come from a conversation with a family member, friend or even stranger.  And it can come from reading.  The conversation doesn’t have to be about your creative block, it can be about anything, just talk.  Same thing with reading, it doesn’t have to be an article about getting out of writer’s block, just anything.  The way we build creative capacity is by  allowing other’s ideas and words to flow in and out of our mind.
  • Shut Out Everyday Noise: It’s hard to think with all the noise going on around in our lives.  When I’m really stumped I’ll just turn off the music, the television or even the computer.  When I go out for a run I won’t bring an ipod because I just want to think, let the mind wander and see where the ideas go.  We can be afraid of silence because of it’s awkwardness; however, when embraced it really can lead to amazing things.
The point of these exercises is to allow the Holy Spirit to work through you.  As youth ministers we are always encouraging our teens to follow the Spirit, embrace the Spirit and we all know that comes from doing something a little different from the norm.  Most ideas aren’t formed in front of the screen, in fact most of the creative process should be away from it.  So next time you hit a block, just remember it’s God telling you to step away.
How do you encourage creativity?

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