How to Reach a Creative Mindset

Two weeks ago I filmed a project for one of my classes. I understood the assignment; I had a script; I was confident I would shoot the three-minute video with ease. Except, it wasn’t that. I stood in front of my camera for three hours not knowing what the heck I was doing. 

Yeah, you heard that correctly. It took me three hours to film a three-minute video.

If you were to ask me why, I would have no idea what to tell you except that I was stuck. No matter what I did, I couldn’t make it through the script I had constructed for myself. So after struggling for multiple takes, I did what I do best. I shook it out, danced it up, told the camera a few jokes and I was ready to go. Now, I didn’t strictly follow the script, but I got all of the major points across, and I successfully created a video that I was proud of. I wasn’t sure my professor was going to like it because it didn’t necessarily follow the given guidelines, but I gave it my all, and that’s what mattered to me. 

That leads me to my meeting yesterday with my professor, who stated he loved my video right off the bat. He admitted that, no, it didn’t really follow or reference any of the materials we were supposed to read or write, but it did represent them indirectly in the way I presented it. Since our presentation was about creativity, I defined creativity and showcased how I worked through my creative process rather than analyzing and submitting an overview of the materials. 

How did I show my professor how I worked through my creative process, you ask? Parts of the video I submitted were cuts from the three hours of me goofing off in front of the camera. I thought it was necessary, and in the end, so did my professor. Because in the end, it showed me breaking through the wall that I had built for myself that hindered my creativity. 

As a kid, I bet you were always creative. Imagining things, drawing, coloring outside the lines, creating dances that consisted of jumbled wiggles, playing and continually asking questions. But what happened? Why don’t we still do that? Especially in this day in age, creativity is hard to come by. We are so used to following a rubric, an example or so overwhelmed with “making the grade” that we don’t allow ourselves to express our creativity. But much like our muscles or other skills, you use creativity, or you lose creativity. It’s that simple. 

But just because you haven’t used it in a little while doesn’t mean it’s still not there. You just need to break down the barrier you created for yourself. 

So don’t be afraid to take a few minutes, or maybe three hours, when you are stuck on a project, no matter your major, and just relax. Go do something that will get your creative juices flowing. I found my creativity standing in front of a camera. Maybe you will find yours outside on a walk, drawing, painting, writing, playing a game or trying to solve a problem. It can be anything, really. The most important thing is that you take a step back from what you are working on. Spend a few minutes being a kid, forget about societal standards and the wall you built to match those standards, and be who you want to be. That way, when you turn back to whatever you are working on, you will more than likely have more ideas and a better idea of what you want to do. The biggest thing is to remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Sometimes there is beauty in the imperfection of creativity. You just have to tear down your wall.

Written by: Elizabeth O’Donnell


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