Ugh! Those creative funks. They’re the worst: writer’s block, uninspired environments, missing muses-we’ve all experienced our share of creative fogs. But, how do we get out of those paralyzing pauses? Let nature be your muse. For many, directly experiencing nature has a way of releasing our inhibitions, so when we connect with nature (in any capacity) we open ourselves up to uninhibited, earthy inspirations meant to help us fulfill our creative calling!
Below are nine nature-inspired ideas to try the next time you feel artistically stalled. Even if you don’t consider yourself a nature-lover, these creative prompts in a change of scenery may be just what you need to get your creative juices flowing!
1. Funk-buster pebbles: collect 15 small pebbles (they should all fit easily in the palm of your hand) and arrange in different patterns throughout the day. Try to express your mood or some other information with your designs, or free form whatever comes to you.
2. Leaf “tweets.” Collect soft, fallen leaves, grab a Sharpie and doodle, write haiku, a love note, or words of wisdom on them (140 characters or less), and “leaf” them for people to find.
3. Go for a walk with the moon. At least once during the next full moon, go outside and see for yourself how the moonlight sculpts the land, the plants, and your imagination. (Be watchful of any wildlife or other hazards). Do not turn on your flashlight, let the bright light of the moon guide your eyes. Take note of how familiar items look different under this new light.
4. Free-write, naturally. Choose a natural object or setting (rock, a leaf, a piece of driftwood, your favorite lunch spot in the park) and write down every word or phrase that comes to mind. List words describing it, or how it makes you feel, or what textures and patterns you see. Anything. No rules, just let your mind take you.
5. Dig your heels in. Slip off your sandals, or your shoes and socks, and take a walk on the beach. Or feel the spongy, dewy coolness of a morning lawn, or the sand slipping between your toes in your child’s sand box! How about squishing around in some natural clay or mud at your favorite hiking hide-away or earth spa? The point is to feel the elements between your toes and fingers and revel in the therapeutic energy of organic, earthy textures and fragrances.
6. Art for arts sake. Participate in a “found art” group of artists who create art to leave anonymously for others to find! I’ve left my art on trails/trail heads and in parks through the Flickr.com group: Found Art Tuesday. Sometimes, an upcoming public event will inspire a piece, sometimes a random piece I’ve created finally finds a perfect home in a public place. It’s fun, it gives back, and it’s incredibly inspiring, not to mention a little therapeutic!
7. Try your hand at land art. Go to a favorite natural area and release your inner Andy Goldsworthy. Study the landscape for available natural materials (sand, shells, rocks, leaves, sticks, seed pods, flowers, water flow…) and try mindful expression right there. One rule: use only the natural materials at hand, responsibly-no shovels, glue, string, paper clips, tape, nails, etc.
8. Inspiration sticks (or use smooth river stones): collect a personal set of smooth sticks (8″ to 10″ long) from the yard and write creative prompts on them for quick ideas & activities meant to get your creative juices flowing. For example you might have sticks that have the seven previous ideas listed as prompts: found art, land art, dig in, free write, full moon, leaf tweet, funk-busters. Or you might write a color per stick, or an environment prompt. Have blank sticks ready for those creative flashes to add to your jar! Keep them in a recycled spaghetti sauce jar or a can for easy access.
9. Creative meditation. Meditate some place different, take it outside-in your back yard, on a huge boulder, at the beach. Find a safe, comfortable place to practice a meditation that energizes your creativity chakra, aka the sacral chakra, located in the lower abdomen, about 2″ below your novel, I mean your naval.
Good luck and have fun! Go. Create. Inspire others.