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Curiously Creative: Reigniting your creative spark

I utilized a photo similar to this in my most recent ekphrasis exercise to get my creative juices moving. Use it for your own exercise and feel free to share them with me at mhicks@SteamboatPilot.com. (Getty Images/stock)

“Remember, Shakespeare wrote ‘King Lear’ in quarantine.”

That tidbit was shared across every social media platform from the moment we all entered COVID-19 lockdown. It was supposed to be motivation for creatives suddenly cut off from their usual muses. I even shared it, hoping it would inspire me to write more. But it quickly became apparent quarantine was not made for every creative, and that quick reminder became less of rallying cry and more of a slap in the face for those struggling.

Now, things are changing. Light is growing brighter at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. However, if you’re like me, you might still be in need of a spark to reignite your creativity.



I made the big leap into grad school during quarantine to get my master’s in creative writing, and I have found new and fun ways to keep my imagination flowing, even on days I’d rather just sit on the couch and lose myself in a Netflix binge. I’d like to share those with you in hopes of kick-starting your next artistic endeavor. A lot of them may lean more toward writers, but some of them are universal and should help you whether you use a pencil, a paintbrush or welding tools.

Find the best space to create for you

This sounds simple, but think about it outside of a desk or a favorite bench along the Yampa River Core Trail. It’s also a state of mind or a ritual to signify you’re going into your creative “space” in the mind. Try a meditation exercise that focuses on creativity, or if you’re unable to get to your favorite physical space, close your eyes and imagine it. A new technique I learned is lighting a candle (smell based on your preference) as a representation of entering a safe, creative space anywhere in your home.



Prompt yourself

I love a good writing prompt. Nothing gets my creative juices flowing like a sentence asking you to describe something or an ekphrasis exercise. If you’re not familiar with those, an ekphrasis asks you to create a story based off a visual piece of art, like a painting or photo. It can be as simple as a detailed description of what you’re seeing or a wild, fantastical story featuring aliens or dragons. The other day, I looked at a picture of strawberry waffles and ended up writing a short story about a unicorn embarrassed by her strawberry allergy. Let your imagination take you wherever it wants to go. This also works with paintings and sculptures as prompts can help you get started when you feel stuck.

Write (or draw) some fan fiction

Now, hear me out on this one. I know fan fiction sounds like you might be going down a dark rabbit hole mainly designed for the internet, but fan fiction can help you kick-start your creativity in a relaxing, yet unique way. Think of your favorite books or movies. You already know those characters. You can already picture the setting. And don’t pretend you’ve never wished there was just one more story. Take those characters and places and make them your own. It’s a great way to study other creatives you admire, as well.

Play that music

Music can be helpful in a variety of ways when creating. It can help you focus, or it can become a prompt. It just depends on what you need in the moment. Spotify has some great playlists pulled together to help with focus, as does the meditation app Headspace. If you want songs to inspire you, look for lyrics that tell a story. I think folk and country singers have some of the best, but you can get them from any genre if you’re up for it.

I hope these tips and tricks help you get your creative spark reignited. If you have some you’d like to share with me that aren’t listed, I’d love to hear them. Feel free to email me at mhicks@SteamboatPilot.com.

Mackenzie Hicks is a copy editor and page designer for Steamboat Pilot & Today. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing. She can be reached at mhicks@SteamboatPilot.com.


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