When you're busy with the million and one things to do in your day, it's hard to find the time to be creative.
This is especially the case if your job requires you to work a lot with the logical side of your brain, and you're occasionally asked to make a quick switch to the creative grey matter.
A brisk twist of your artistic tap may not yield an instant flow of ideas, and panic might set in.
Reassure yourself that even the best movers and makers need time to practice being imaginative. Michelangelo said “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all.”
He's be happy to know that there are some excellent resources around to exercise your imagination and tone your creative muscles.
1. The Vimeo Weekend Challenge
Sign up for the Vimeo Weekend Challenge, and every Friday you'll get a mail in your inbox with a brief for a short video you can make over the weekend. Typically it's inspired by a trigger expression like 'Explore The World Around You' or 'One-Shot Stories'.
And you do exactly what it says on the tin. Shoot something simple and upload it to the group. Then have a look at what others did, and engage with the warm and friendly Vimeo community to get feedback and more ideas.
2. #WHP – Instagram’s Weekend Hashtag Project
Follow @instagram to get info about the weekend project each week. Recent themes have included #WHPgetaway and #WHPcolorstudy.
Think about your picture, and don't just re-purpose a library shot to fit the theme.
Instagram is where high end photos go to live, so take the best picture that you can - it's really worth using an App like Snapseed or VSCO to up your game for Instagram.
Then join the conversation and enjoy the confidence and likes you'll get from another very supportive community, the Instagramily.
3. 100 Days of All About Me
This is a fab journalling project by The Awsesome Ladies and it's so worth a try.
List-making and journalling are great ways of sparking ideas and creative thoughts.
This project is exactly as described - it's 100 Days of All About You. Every day you'll get an email with an 'introspective question' designed to stimulate memory and thought.
Today I got 'Do you play team sport?'. So in my notebook for the purpose I wrote about being banished to goals in hockey hell, the giant knee-pads I wore there, (those did kind of make you special), a bash on the head with the ball and other such nonsense.
Not exactly heading for the Pulitzer Prize, but it made me scratch my head and have a think, and it was fun. There's nothing like a bit of creative introspection of a morning!
4. Fat Mum Slim Photo A Day
The original, and still one of the best Photo-A-Day challenges by Australian blogger Chantelle Ellem, who started this thread in 2008 when she was at home with a small baby.
Every month she releases a month's worth of trigger words to inspire your photos, and you can post them on a myriad of platforms associated with her by-now-stellar brand.
September has words like 'grass' 'mess' and 'care'. Great not just for photos but for any medium you choose, like Haiku, GIF or song!
5. 30 Day Writing Challenge
There are tons of these online, but this one is particularly good, and guaranteed to get you out of linear thinking and bouncing ideas around. Things like 'Create a character who is falsely accused of a crime' or 'Write about the longest amount of time you've ever gone without sleeping' are absolutely guaranteed to get you chewing that pencil and firing that front brain.
While creativity does come more naturally to some people, like anything else it can be learned through practice and technique.
Just as you can learn to make a decent cheese soufflé, you can teach yourself to think creatively.
You may not wind up throwing in the day job to pursue your art, but if you make the time to practice, you can tune more quickly into the creative side of your brain when bright ideas are required.
Niamh Guckian is the Director of Go Motion Academy
Providing Training in Video for Social Media & Digital Marketing