One of my former colleagues, who was the business photographer of the company where I used to intern, said some very inspiring words to me. He wasn’t at all trying to be inspiring. But what he said always stuck to me.
I’ve always been interested in photography. The more I blog the more I learn to be interested in it. After all, we are mostly focused on visual content, and the more I travel to gorgeous places, the more I want to document them ‘correctly’ to show you where I’ve been.
I’ve talked about this quite a lot with this particular colleague. And when I said to him that I wanted to do a photography course, he said the following: ‘Be careful with courses. You should follow a ‘basic’ course, where you learn about the features of your camera. But don’t learn more. The more you learn the more you start to think inside a little box of ‘how you are supposed to take photos’. It takes away all your creativity. Let your mind and passion do the work, not the guidelines you’ve been given.’
So how did I start writing this down in this blogpost, thinking that this might just be the perfect beginning of the article ‘Why Going Offline Helps To Boost Your Creativity’? I guess that in a way, the story I just told you is also applicable for the time you spend online and forgetting about creativity.
The more time you spend online, reading and seeing how other people live their lives and ‘do’ their lives, you get caught up in the box of ‘what’s normal’. You especially get caught up in trends that you are supposed to follow and you are living by the guidelines that are created for you.
Step away from that and you’ll get to learn – or remember, what creativity actually means.
Quick example: bloggers. Did you ever notice how every blog looks the same? It’s not because we aren’t creative. It’s because we forget how blogs can look unique. We are thinking within boundaries and have this idea in our head of what a blog is supposed to look like.
With small steps, I am learning myself what creativity means. And how I can break away from my little box.
And today I am teaching you, what I’ve already learned so far: going offline helps.
We get inspired by real life
I live close to the forest. And whenever my brain is filled with thoughts, work, emotions and ideas I go outside. I walk. I breath in the fresh air and I let everything go for a minute.
For a short time it is just me. No noise. No pollution. And that is exactly what I sometimes need when I want answers. When I want to filter out the good ideas and when I want to come up with the perfect – creative – unique idea that helps me further.
Online, almost everything is perfect. Everyone shares their best moments. Moments that aren’t exactly showcasing real life. How can you be inspired by perfection and ‘fake’-moments?
Offline, everything is real. You’ll experience real moments and see real people, you’ll have genuine conversations and laugh real laughter, you’ll hear extraordinary stories and explore real nature. It’s perfect. Creativity is the translation of stories into art.
This is where stories are born. This is where creativity is born.
Being influenced isn’t always a good thing
Having role models sometimes is all you need. It is that part you can hold on to. It helps you when you need more self-confidence, guidance or inspiration to do something you really want. It inspires you to get the best out of you.
Being influenced by people, or their stories can also be very negative. The more you read, the more you get caught up in stories and lives that already exist. Lives that aren’t your life, and that take away your creativity.
I think we all know the feeling of thinking ‘What she is doing? That’s so cool, I want to do that too’. – It is nice to be inspired, but it’s dangerous too. You’ll start to think a-like and eventually your products start to look a-like.
Be wary of the fact what being influenced means to you and how it affects you. Learn how going offline helps to protect you. Going offline protects you from other opinions that you’ve started to value too much, so you can start listening to your own.
Let your mind wander off
The more you start to think about a certain product you want to create.. whether it’s music, a story or visuals.. the more you get lost in your own thoughts and thoughts of others you see online.
There comes this point where you have to realize and accept that thinking about it sometimes just isn’t working and you’ll have to accept yourself to let your mind wander off. Don’t think of it as failure. Don’t think of it as postponing.
Sometimes it is just all you need, and that’s ok.
Do something completely different. Block all the thoughts that you had earlier. Stop thinking about it. Turn off your email and notifications.
Have fun with your friends and family. Laugh. Sleep, cook, exercise, read.. go outside.
Feel free. Even if it’s just for a moment.