Jumpstart Your Creativity With These 5 Strategies
Creative practice can be a tool for navigating through some of life’s more challenging seasons. When working with a combination of written and visual languages, the subconscious unlocks and opens an incredibly safe space for us to explore.
I first began visual journaling in 2015 for business purposes. As an entrepreneur, I was looking for a creative way to do business and financial planning for my new company, Women Connected. I also wanted to bring structure from the explosion of ideas and possibilities so that my ideas could take root. My corporate career on Wall Street had taught me the very familiar business tools of excel spreadsheets, charts, and graphs. But, I wanted something different — something that would open my thinking into new possibilities. My research took me into the amazing world of visual journaling.
Like any new practice area, the minute you step into something new, a vast world opens up that can be quite overwhelming and daunting. Suddenly, something I never heard of in my corporate career was a magnificent world waiting to be discovered.
Visual journaling has a long history beginning with Carl Jung who maintained a regular practice creating small circular drawings that he believed corresponded to his inner feelings and the archetypal realm of the collective unconscious.
Visual journaling combines the power of writing in a journal with imagery, taking us where words alone cannot go:
- increases self-awareness
- reduces stress, anger, and inner conflicts
- provides comfort and joy
- promotes healing, health, and wellbeing
- gain access to inner wisdom
- gives voice to the soul
- discover latent talents
- creativity in one part of our life opens creativity to other areas
Here are some easy ways that I have found to begin infusing more creativity:
Get started with some basic materials. Think about your intention for the journal. Do you want to record dreams, start a gratitude practice, or explore your inner world? Buy a journal and a pen that you love and supports the intention. I am a collector of journals with beautiful covers. They call to me and inspire me to create within them. Sometimes it’s the image or the color, and sometimes it’s the words. I rarely write in blue or black and have a wide variety of colors, gel, and other kinds of pens.
Coloring Books are another great way to get started. They reconnect us with our inner child, who used to love crayons and colored pencils. Today, there are so many great adult coloring books and materials for you to explore. You can find coloring books that are fun, inspirational, as well as soul-searching. You will rebuild your muscles for using color to express your moods and inner vision.
Spontaneous imagery can open you up to collaging. Have you ever seen a photo or picture that touched something inside of you? Perhaps it was stunning. Perhaps it captured a human emotion that was beyond words. Or, maybe the words expressed just what you were feeling. Lay these pictures into your journal for that day, and then write about what it means for you.
A symbol a day. Our world is full of symbols that go unnoticed in our busy, hectic lives. Symbols can be something as simple as a feather, a doorway, or a smile. They can represent crosses, hearts, the infinity sign, the moon, and the zodiac signs. Create a symbol journal, and each day write about a new symbol and what it means in your life. Very quickly, you will begin noticing new symbols to draw and will expand your inner dialogue.
Start tangling. Zentangling is a fun, meditative way to build your art journal muscles. You can tangle inside of anything, and it’s incredibly relaxing.
Don’t overthink this. Find your first journal, grab a few supplies you have around the house, and relax and play. If what you’re trying feels laborious, try something else until you notice what lights you up and connects you to your five-year-old, playful, spontaneous self.