The weather is changing!Â Have you noticed it?Â Here in Chicago, it’s happening very slowly…we’re fluctuating between beautiful, warm days and frigid, throwback-to-January-cold days.Â But the very fact that the sun is out is causing a noticeable shift in peoples’ willingness to leave their homes and get back out into the world.
When we hibernate for the winter, it’s not uncommon for our creativity and willingness to pursue new projects goes dormant as well.Â That just means that you have all the more reason to jumpstart your imagination and let your ideas out to get some much-needed sunshine.
At the ETA Blog, we’ve put together 4 simple steps to give your creativity a boost.Â Try one, try them all, and let us know if they work for you!
1. Work Outside
I know, I telegraphed this one with all that talk of sunshine, but it’s true…working outside, surrounded by fresh air and natural light, can go a long way to letting your ideas flow more freely.Â Take a notepad and a few hours and plant yourself on a bench in your favorite park.Â Use your surroundings to help influence your brainstorm…the natural sounds that surround you are essentially just a better, less expensive version of one of those Sharper Image ambient noise machines. You’ll have all sorts of time to sit inside in front of your computer screen later as you’re doing the butt-in-seat work of executing whatever type of creative project you’re working on, but for now…disconnect.
2. Set Your New Season Resolutions
Remember New Years?Â Remember when you said you were going to do all those marvelous things that you never really ended up doing?Â New Years You was going to lose the weight and change the world, but most resolutions tend to mysteriously disappear within a month or so.
So what?Â I’m a believer that the frozen wasteland of winter isn’t actually the most ideal time to create a new battleplan for changing your life.Â Ignore tradition and use the coming of a New Season to set yourself some more attainable short=term goals.Â Especially if you’re launching a new venture, this gives you a perfect opportunity to build some waypoints and break down your overarching endgame into more bite-sized pieces.Â (In case you haven’t heard, bite-size is the way of the future)
3. Hit The Streets
One of the most charming things about Chicago is the sheer volume of people meandering down the sidewalk (when its nice enough to do so).Â Many of them have no explicit reason for being out…they just like being out, looking in windows, sitting in outdoor cafes, people watching, whatever.Â But those people, who have no particular reason for being out, represent hundreds of possible connections who might be interested in your or your work!
I’m not telling you to accost people.Â I’m saying find a creative reason for being outside and a creative way to promote yourself or your product.Â Even if its just handing out fliers with a friendly note and a link to your website, you’re drawing attention and shaking hands and actually TALKING to people, which will always be a thousand times more valuable than any retweeting or Facebook status update you might do.
When I moved to Chicago, one of the first people I talked to was someone who was participating in a Free Hugs Day event in Millennium Park.Â All they were doing was standing with a sign that said free hugs and, you guessed it, hugging anybody who would take one.Â And by doing so, they got people like me to stop, hug, and talk to them about anything and everything (including their group, Positive Focus, a name which has stuck with me all this time because of the simple, unique touchpoint they created).
What can you do to stand out on a busy street corner?Â How do you draw attention to yourself in the real world in a way that makes people want to come talk to you?Â Chances are, if you can answer that question on the streets, you can answer that question in your creative industry as well.Â I’m just saying…
4. Take a Boost Camp!
Our compatriots at the Institute For Arts Entrepreneurship are offering the Creative Enterprise Boost Camp this summer, and the whole thing is designed to galvanize you into testing and structuring your idea so that it’s ready to become a real business plan.Â I don’t think I’m the only one who tends to do my best work when I have a deadline looming, and this 2-week intensive can act as your personal deadline to finally take a leap and COMMIT yourself to that creative business idea you’ve had sitting in the back of your head for too long.Â For more info on the Creative Enterprise Boost Camp, go here.Â And for info on all the Summer Workshops and Intensives from the IAE, go here.
So do any of these work for you?Â Or do you have other Springtime rituals that you want to share?Â Sound off in the comments below!
Shawn Bowers is a writer, actor and producer in Chicago, IL.Â He performs regularly around the city and encourages you to click over to his website at www.ShawnBowers.com to check out all sorts of stories, videos and a full performance calendar.Â Internets are fun!