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Unfortunately, unless you decide to make your own holiday cards or gifts (a mistake I'll never try again, , ,) you might feel as if your muse has flown to Bermuda for the month, leaving you far behind. But don't give up: there's still plenty you can do to revive and restore flagging holiday creativity--cocoa and warm blankets included!
- Too tired to pick up a pencil? Read! Escapist; comfort; genre; literary; poetry; nonfiction--whatever attracts your attention, go for it. On the surface, reading might seem like a creative cop-out, but it's one of the most important activities anyone can do to top up the "idea bank" while taking a much-needed rest. It also can lay the foundation for future creative work once the holidays are over.
- Play with Color. A sketchbook doesn't have to be used solely for sketches of actual objects or landscapes. Sometimes just arranging swatches of color into interesting designs and patterns can be enough to stimulate your imagination for more structured work. Something I love to do is paint page after page of watercolor washes using every color in my paint box. It's amazing how once the paint is dry you can see dozens of potential images within the wash to outline for later painting (or writing.) I also like to do this with cut-outs from magazines, concentrating on the colors rather than the subjects of the photos.
- Go to the craft or discount store with a $20 bill just for you. Buy yourself some stocking stuffers that will please nobody but yourself: stickers, washi tape, crazy pencils: items you won't be able to resist playing with once you get home.
- Go for a walk in a place you've never been before. This has been a little easier for me now that I've moved downtown, but seeing new settings, people, and tiny nooks and corners I've previously missed has given me fresh ideas for future work. I'm also making a list of places to revisit once the weather improves and I can sit outside to sketch or journal.
- Journal your feelings and ideas solely with inspirational, or unusual, photos and illustrations. No writing, just visuals. The finished journal can provide you with a wealth of ideas, prompts, and story lines well into the New Year. It's also a lovely item to just sit with, turning the pages and meditating on the individual elements.
- Watch old movies, particularly the ones you loved as a child. Write about why they're so special to you, and about the first time you watched them. How have your feelings and impressions changed with the passage of time in-between viewings?
- Plan a "vision quest" nap. Not only is this a great way to catch up on sleep, but it gives you a positive intention and a plan for creativity once you wake up. My personal method is to take a page from my visual journal, study it for a few minutes, and then tell myself to dream about it. This really works! Make sure you have a pen and paper next to your bed or couch so you can start writing the minute you open your eyes.