Happy New Year, everyone! As we’re beginning this new year, I have been thinking about creativity, especially since I’ve experienced a surge in inspiration this past week after we returned from our holiday in Sydney, Australia.

Still a little jet lagged from our trip, new ideas for writing projects keep popping up in my mind, and I have felt compelled to examine this process further, by pondering how, why and when I have experienced increased creativity in my life.

1) I do think that our health has a great impact on all aspects of life, creativity included, but I also know from experience that doing something creative can be a great source of comfort and even alleviate pain. Since this post is about boosting creativity, the first step would be to do what we can to feel healthy and well-rested. But, as I told you, in the midst of jetlag and general post holiday/travel fatigue, I have felt a surge of creativity that consequently must have been generated from other sources of inspiration.

2) Since we just came back from our travel to Australia, full of new impressions, my first thought was that this must be a great booster of creativity. To experience new places, sights, sounds, scents and tastes, and to interact with new people. To marvel over the wonderfully cheerful Australian accent, to be called “love” and to “ooh” and “aah” over the fireworks next to strangers who helped us get the best viewing spot over the harbour.

3) Yes, this, to meet new people, should be its own item on the list. To talk to them, to listen to their stories, and to, just as importantly for a writer, observe them. Not in a stalker-ish way, but just as they go about their ordinary business. In Sydney, I couldn’t help but notice the street singer who always stood in the same corner in his washed-out jeans and blond curls, singing Hallelujah with a silky voice to the tunes from his worn guitar; the tanned, muscular woman working on the ferry, lassoing the thick ropes like a cowboy as the ferry docked; the cashier in the corner supermarket, interrupting the loud stream of words into his cell phone to look up at us with a soft “How can I help you?”.

4) And in the evenings, when we were sprawled out on the living room sofa after having walked all over Sydney, we enjoyed to watch TV: news, series, comedy, anything that gave us an additional flavour of the Australian culture, and insights into the people and their stories. For example, we watched the miniseries called Hoges about Paul Hogan, the real life Crocodile Dundee. It was really enlightening, and helped me understand just how big of a phenomenon Hogan was and still is in Australia, and how much his story helped shape the Australian brand overseas and domestically. Whenever I encounter a new place, I also enjoy to read up on people and places, to more fully understand the culture. A while back I read a lot by novelist Patrick White, and it was such a great experience to visit the country he so vividly described in his novels.

5) I already mentioned that we walked a lot, and I mean A LOT. Wow, we got so much exercise, and even though I was very tired in the evenings, it must have done me good, since I’m having this surge in well-being and creativity. We rented a small town house by Barangaroo Reserve, in the heart of Sydney, with harbour views from nearly every window. I took the picture above a few steps from our front door, and it was wonderful to breathe the ocean air, and watch the sun set, mirrored in the silvery water.

6) This, to spend time in nature, seems to always recharge my mind, body and soul in every way. Somehow I feel happier, stronger, more alive and more like myself, when I am surrounded by trees, rocks, earth and water. It seems to sharpen my senses, make me more aware of the details in every leaf of grass, flower and every ripple of the water surface.

7) These beautiful views seem to urge me to capture them, when I was younger on canvas, and nowadays more often using photography. This in turn, I believe helps me see more details, moods, shadows and shades, that I otherwise might have missed. Learning photography has turned to be a great source of inspiration in my writing, I believe. Come to think of it, the first chapter of Beautiful Affliction starts with a photograph! 🙂

8) Indeed, all crafts tend to cross-pollinate each other, which is why, I believe, so many writers are also artists, musicians, designers, gardeners, photographers, bakers etc. To do something crafty, seems to stimulate our creative minds in all directions.

9) And as we engage in our favourite crafts, we tend to gravitate to, but also attract, other creative people, who can be a great source of inspiration. These days we needn’t create in solitude, instead we can find like-minded friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, in the blogosphere, and of course, IRL: in real life.

10) Learning from and about other creative people, can also help us cultivate positive paradigms on craft/creativity and lift our spirits when we suffer setbacks or when we feel like the well of our creativity has dried up. I love the uplifting “can do”-spirit that is often shared on Instagram, and the many tips from bloggers, and the never-ending jokes and shenanigans on Twitter. Perhaps especially for me, a Swedish writer living in Asia, social media has proven to be a valuable source of inspiration, connection and a place to find friends, now that I live so far from home.

I hope you found something in here that might help you boost your creativity, and if you did, I’d love to hear from you! Maybe you have a tip that you’d like to add to the list, or maybe you’d like to share an experience when one of these “boosters” worked for you. Anyhow, feel free to comment below!

With Love,

Lene