Creativity break ruts, but still we fall into ruts in our creativity.
We find something that works and stick to it. Nothing wrong with that, often that's how we develop a recognizable style others enjoy.
But sometimes, we need to grow in our craft and then we need to break those ruts.
My interest for photography started in my early teens. Long before Instagram, I used a Swedish photo dairy website, bringing my camera along to capture what me and my friends were up to. In high school, I took a photography class and eventually got my own DSLR.
When I began my Fear Year in 2016, I started my Instagram account and fell in love with photography all over again. I started putting more effort into my pictures and let myself be inspired by all the beautiful photos Instagram holds.
Over the past 1,5 years, I've taken a lot of photos, some with thought and care, others quickly, just to have a picture to upload. Somewhere along the way, I fell into a rut. I didn't push myself to keep growing in my photography.
I reached a point where I knew I needed to break my current routine to be able to take my craft to the next level.
Creative growth doesn't happen through following the same old patterns. It happens in many different ways, but the two I often find helpful and want to talk about today is this: focusing or freeing your creativity.
Fierce creative focus
Sometimes, you already have the tools for growth. Either they've been there inside of you for a long time, or you've just read a book or taken a course on the topic. What you most of all need is to hunker down and apply those skills.
Carefully, persistently, you need to focus your creativity on what it is you want to create. In creativity especially, you can't just read a how-to or watch a tutorial and expect that you've have mastered it. You need to practice and turn those lessons into your own thing. Understand from the inside out how they work. Apply your fierce creative focus to really develop that skill.
In my photography, this means I actually use what I know of lighting, composition and editing to take photos I love. To spend time applying all of those little skills I've learned over the years and push myself to not settle for half-decent if I know I can do better.
Creativity set free
Maybe you don't know what skills you need to grow. Maybe you aren't even sure what is that you want to create. Maybe you've applied the same skills for so long, they've gone stale. If so, it might be time to loosen the grip on your creativity and see where it takes you.
When you've fallen into a creative rut, just getting outside of your comfort zone and exploring what lives there can make all the difference. You might have been creating the same things in the same style and shaking things up will force you to grow. This is not as much practice as trial and error. Finding new paths to try out.
In my photography, I've found that I've limited myself in what I take photos of. I want to keep my style consistent, but to grow I need to let my creativity run loose when I set up my pictures. Keep searching for new ways for to tell the story I want to tell in my photos.
What would help you grow?
If you're longing to hone you craft, be honest with yourself. Do you already know enough? Have you put the time and effort into applying those skills? Do you need to consume more lessons to get better? Or, do you just need to set your creativity free and let it show you what it's capable of?