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Creativity – are you overthinking it?

Well a few weeks ago I had a complete creative block. Everything was going wrong that I tried. Every photograph, every piece of work just seemed to go wrong. The more I tried, the worse things seemed to get. Creativity had left.

The Problem

Ian Watts Digital Art - CreativityThe first was that I was trying to learn new techniques that required technical thinking. New methods, new software, reading up on the best way to take certain types of photograph.

Secondly, at the same time, I was concentrating on the branding side of my photography – setting up a website, a place to sell prints, marketing using social networks etc.

The problem is that both of these things required left brain thinking. Psychologists have identified that the left hemisphere of the brain is utilised in intellectual, logical, mathematical, linguistic skills. The more I engaged in these left brain skills, the less creative I became.

The Solution

Finally I became frustrated, and just picked up my camera and went for a walk. No tripod, no filters, no remote for doing HDR bracketing. Nothing but me and my camera and the great outdoors.

Ian Watts Digital Art - Creativity
A Lilly vibrant and glowing

My brain was free Рwell, to put it more correctly, the left hemisphere of my brain had stopped dominating. My right hemisphere started talking more. The right hemisphere of the brain is what controls our creative side Рour imagination, our intuition, our feelings. As I walked just with my camera I was free to just take a picture of whatever caught my eye Рno plan, just take the shot. Creativity dominated..

As soon as I got back to the computer my mind was full of creative ideas Рnot techniques, not following specific steps, but just playing. They were among some of my best images.

Of course life is a balance – if we never utilised our left brain, we would never learn anything new, and at times we need to struggle with a new concept or a new technique. So there is a time to just get down to it and put the hard work in.

Just maybe though, next time you are stuck creatively, the best thing you can do is down tools, go for a walk, strip whatever your doing and get back to basics. You might just be surprised.

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