Sunday, August 29, 2010
My creativity takes a variety of paths and requires a variety of actions. I write about what I do and find interesting(this blog is just one example): real estate, investing, photography, food. I photograph(examples also on this blog): mostly nature and wildlife but also architecture, still life, portraits, weddings and to illustrate my articles. I cook: a range of cuisines and fusions centering on fresh, healthy ingredients. I invest: in local single-family homes and in world-wide stocks concentrated on earth-friendly technology.
Maintaining creativity in these areas means spending some time each day doing each of them. This keeps me in active practice and keeps the basics mostly out of the thought process. The constant practice means I don’t have to stop to think about basic punctuation or grammar or spelling while writing; I don’t have to stop to think about which lens focal length or f/stop to use to get the perspective and depth-of-field wanted in a photograph; I don’t have to stop to think about whether to sauté or roast ingredients for an experimental dish; I don’t have to stop to think about how to enter a “buy” or “sell” order for stocks. Constant practice by constant doing takes the very basics of an activity out of the thought process and allows focusing on the creative aspects of the activity: to tell a story or just report the facts, everything in the frame in sharp focus or only the main subject, a medley of complementary flavors or the predominance of lemon/dill.
Continuous research is also a creativity booster. I read pretty much everything from science fiction to action/spy novels to stock/real estate investing techniques/theories to photography magazines and manufacturer’s equipment updates/new releases. It is important to think about these new(or old) ideas and how they tie in with personal philosophies/practices. I do not have the budget for a new lens but Canon has just released a 8-16mm fisheye zoom lens, stimulating me to think about new ways to use my current lenses. An organic gardening blog or Twitter post causes me to try a new spice or vegetable, a short story contest entry gives me style ideas to incorporate into my real estate column posts. I try to maintain a Zen attitude about life and always be open to new ideas and ways of doing.
Operating this way most effectively keeps me out of ruts. Concentrating too hard or too long on one activity or one technique puts me into a rut, which is then difficult to get out of. If I find myself not getting excited about photographing wildlife or landscapes I will park downtown and spend some time wandering around looking for interesting street scenes or architectural details or man/nature juxtapositions. If I feel uninspired for my next real estate column I might research the latest battery technology breakthroughs as a mental refresher. When feeling burned out on a house rehab a long swim in the Gulf of Mexico can get my thoughts back on track.