As creative people, we tend to find ourselves being creative in the same ways most of the time. Singers sing, actors act, and artists draw, and so on. Much of this repetition of medium and style is required in order to grow as an artist. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of professional artists is that they don’t chase after a million different art styles, media, and techniques, just to continuously be “learning” something new. Often the “learning” process is a distraction from focusing on the essentials and building upon your artistic foundation.
However, it can often be the case that we get so bogged down by our own artistic styles that they can become crutches and hinder us from breaking through to the next level, simply because we’re able to coast our way through the familiar. Taking a quick break from our everyday routines and doing something in a style completely different from our own can give us new perspectives on the work we’re making and allow us to see the work in a new light. If you’re an actor, working behind the scenes on a show or designing costumes may allow you to understand approaching roles from a more technical direction than you anticipated. Painters can learn by sculpting, and video artists can learn by taking a class in music or still photography.
The idea of mixing up your artistic or creative pursuits is not to chase after an entirely new avenue for artistic expression. Rather, it’s a short, sharp shock to your creative brain that can allow you to remove yourself from the laser focus you have on your own work and appreciate the ways in which other creative people express themselves to the world, and borrow elements of that in order to inform your own artistic endeavors. It’s like taking a vacation, but focusing on expanding your horizons rather than taking a rest.
Next time you feel a bit stuck, think of a short way you can explore your creativity in another way. You may find yourself refreshed and ready to tackle that vexing project that’s eluded you thus far.