In the spirit of Bruno Mars, strutting in my birthday suit and letting everything hang loose is not just for lazy days. On the contrary, shedding clothes allows me to be more productive.
I mean, does nudity only belong in the locker room after swimming? Answer: no. Re-thinking habits such as when to be clothed or unclothed is just one way to get your brain more creative.
On that note, here are 7 tips to get that creative flow flowin’.
1. Get a New Perspective
Look at an ordinary item up close; without a filter, without a monitor between you and the object. Closer. Play with the depth of field. Allow your eyes to lose focus. Then readjust. The ordinary item, even if it’s your own fingertip, stops looking familiar. Cameras still have nothing on our organic vision.
Don’t find ragged cuticles inspiring? Not a problem, just pick something raw that hasn’t been remixed into a pre-made work of art. A teaspoon of potting soil? Why not.
2. Switch your sleeping position
No, I’m not forcing side-sleepers to stare at the ceiling. I’m not evangelizing belly-sleeping as ‘the one true way’. I’m talkin’ move your pillow to the foot of the bed.
“But that means I’ll be staring at the wall behind the headboard before I drift off.” Yep. Before you re-set your mind for the next day, look at a surface that is de-personalized and IRL. Your vibrant mind will feel less crowded. This switches your mindset from what is to what could be before your mind goes into heavy REM sleep to repair and make you whole again for tomorrow.
3. Get naked in a new place
Where you allow yourself to be vulnerable can radically stretch what you think and how you think. This practice switches up your routine and junks taboos.
What’s acceptable to you? Housemates already gone for the morning? Drop your pajama bottoms in the middle of the hall. Remove your sports bra in the kitchen while the teakettle is heating. Leave the blinds open…well, maybe not).
This small liberation will liberate other areas. You’ll be less self-conscious about artificial limits you set in your art. Think two elements don’t go together for your project? Earlier today, you made toast while topless. That would be wrong? Really?
4. Go beyond being a tourist in your own town.
Don’t Yelp and pre-spend next month’s rent going to hot spots that out-of-towners visit. Be daring. Attend a social mixer, not within your industry, and go by an alias. Yes. You needn’t be deceptive but allow yourself to be mysterious. You can say, “Call me ______.”
This helps you see yourself differently too. Do you really need to rattle off your day job and details that will be printed in your obits one day? What’s a true yet a fresh way to introduce yourself? Drop the old ways of defining yourself.
5. Join the really cool kids table
The cool kids table is with retirees. Too often we segregate by age, even if we’d never consider ourselves an ageist society. Select a donut shop outside of 9-5 on a weekday, and become an honorary Golden Girl or Guy one day per month. Listen more than talk. Hear how bawdy jokes don’t fade. This will remind you that decades later, you too will still be badass, which decreases anxiety you might have about a few setbacks now.
And why not ask to join Tai Chi in the park with the group after eating a cake donut with sprinkles?
6. Skills-based volunteering.
Remember before arts school when stodgy school counselors recommended beefing up your college application with extracurriculars? It’s kinda like that, but more fun.
Challenge yourself with self-imposed continuing education units. All the pressure without paying tuition! Co-teach a junior filmmaker’s class. Assist on a first-timer’s acrylics class.Witness the top three most common mistakes. Pitch “Hard to Work for Free.”
This jars you back into the newbie mindset, knocks the dust off ya. Close the distance between the past you and the present you. Aw shucks, you were sparkling back then and you are radically more awesome now. Use that to encourage a learner that the oops is not the end of her career before it starts.
7. Garbage in, garbage out.
Your soul and mind are free-flowing, but they’re also locked down into the biomechanicalchemical avatar of your physical body. This means the ramen you’re scarfing down, as tasty as it is, is being converted into brain fuel.
Want new thinks? Add a vegetable. Imagine yourself as a free, feral creature. Consume something that made it’s own food from the sun. Crunch that bitter chlorophyll and let that sunlight seep into you. Observe what this new food does to your brain chemistry as a creative.
Featured image is “Doctor Phrenology” by Chris Wharton