Stretchy Brain for the Creatively Challenged Photographer

Snow Paul | Burwell School of Photography

Snow Paul

The other day I was supposed to be working on writing a new course. I was having a hard time getting motivated and my mind was frequently wandering. Eventually I went outside to take the cat for a walk (our cat is eighteen years old and only has three legs and enjoys company while exploring the back yard) when I noticed that the temperature and snow conditions were about perfect for making a snowman.

It has literally been decades since I made my last snowman, but I dutifully set about the task. At a certain point, I decided to abandon the traditional snowman format and instead decided to fashion something of a self-portrait. I’m hardly a skilled snow sculptor but I was thrilled with the results I achieved. When my wife got home, her jaw dropped and she started laughing hysterically because it seems that I’d captured the essence of myself.

All of this could have been just a waste of time; a simple distraction from the work I was supposed to be doing. Instead, when I returned to my desk, I found the creative juices were flowing freely and where I was once staring endlessly at a blank screen, ideas were now pouring into my mind and I was working through the tasks at a great pace.

What’s become clear to me, is that regardless of your goal, one needs to make the time to unleash your “stretchy brain” in the pursuit of being both productive and creative. By spending some time ‘playing’, I unlocked some of the creative blocks of my brain.

The exact same sort of exercises will provide similar results for your photography. Look for ways to think outside the box. It is very easy to get stuck in a rut and end up doing the same things over and over again. Forcing yourself into some sort of creative exercise is an excellent way to break outside of the box. You don’t have to be naturally talented at what you choose to do and you don’t have to show your work to anyone. Sketch, doodle, rearrange your furniture, go for a walk and daydream , cook a nice meal, try some features on your camera you haven’t used before etc etc. Creativity of any sort makes your brain happy!

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