012_FINDING AN OUTLET

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Personal Development

There’s something that I find super inspiring, invigorating and motivating in starting a new project. This could be a school project, something for a friend or even just a personal project, but the feeling is always the same. Delving into something totally new and fresh is one of the most freeing feelings you can get.

Then you get into the process of it all and within a few weeks that initial stimulus has worn off and now you’re looking or something new.

I felt this way at the end of my second year of college. It had been a long eight months, for several reasons and by the end of April I felt burnt out like I’ve never felt burnt out before. I was so done with school and everything associated with it. I just wanted to sit at home on the couch and do absolutely nothing for the next four months.

Still, even though I had the feeling in my gut that I didn’t want to do anything with the next four months of summer, I had a subconscious feeling that there was something I NEEDED to do, I just couldn’t figure out what it was.

It took some time and I experimented with different things. I did more paintings, which creatively, was a welcome difference after spending the last eight months sketching obsessively in sketchbooks. I did some writing to, just arbitrary prose and short fiction to exercise my imagination. I continued cycling, draining my legs and mind of energy.

The summer slowly wore on and I found myself hopping back and forth between multiple different things. One week I would get super invested in one particular thing and the next week it would shift. During one week I became enthralled in taking pictures at work and bringing them home to edit. I also made a conscious effort to get back into reading, flipping through fifty pages of a book every day. It was a simple enough task that I could keep it up, even around work.

I didn’t yet realize it, but at the time I was already pushing myself through these different outlets. Through the paintings, the fiction, the pictures, the reading I found myself creatively destressing.

The amazing thing is that it didn’t even take up a lot of time in my life. I worked fulltime so there was nine hours a day that I wasn’t at home, but I would have an hour in the morning before I left for work that I could make a cup of coffee, sit and read before heading out the door. When I got home I could edit any pictures I had taken or pick up a paintbrush and work on a painting. If I had a day off I’d spend half of it outside on the bike and the other half finishing the fifty pages of reading and writing short stories.

Having the freedom to experiment was incredibly uplifting and seemed to drag me out of the creative slump I had found myself in. I believe it was the conscious act of starting a new project on such a short timeline.

The painting process changes with each brush stroke.

The book I was reading evolves and progresses with each page.

The stories I wrote developed and twisted with each word.

The pictures I took were each uniquely different and inspiring.

Try it.

Finding more than one creative outlet gives you the freedom to create and explore without rules, restrictions or limits.

Go out there.

FIND AN OUTLET.

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