Creativity Doesn't Always Work On Schedule, But I've Managed To Overcome That Obstacle

Creativity Doesn't Always Work On Schedule, But I've Managed To Overcome That Obstacle

Can you really set aside time to be creative like you set aside time to study?


Over the last few years, using different parts of my brain in activities which require my critical thinking and creativity has definitely challenged me at times. Expanding my ways of thinking and using different parts of my brain for various tasks has also pushed me to think in a broader sense.

However, I have found that it can be most challenging to set aside time to be creative. While sitting down for periods of time to study or times to go to classes can be much easier, probably due to consistency and practice, it can be tough to carve out time to be creative or artistic. Basically, it can be much easier to set aside a couple hours to study for an exam rather than setting aside an just an hour to choreograph a dance.

I have firsthand experienced the stress and struggles of being creative on a schedule. As a biology student and choreographer for my dance team, it can be interesting to switch from studying carbohydrates and proteins to coming up with steps and concepts for a piece on the spot. But, as a choreographer with the responsibility of teaching a piece to the rest of the team before a performance deadline, it can be difficult to use a different part of my brain that has been pushed to the backburner.

As someone who is passionate about dance and choreography, it is the most frustrating thing when you don't feel one hundred percent satisfied with something you've created. This is especially when time is a factor and a dictator on how long you can spend on coming up with, changing, or adjusting steps. The pressure to complete something that starts from nothing is something I've never truly experienced before.

While dance has always been something that I have done in my free time, now doing it under a time crunch has taught me more about how I think creatively. After a long day of classes, homework, and studying, thinking about putting together a piece about a love story just seems so foreign and distant, especially if I'm given only a few hours to pick a song, select formations, and come up with a routine.

Being more spontaneous, thinking outside of the box, forcing myself to not be redundant or mundane, and pushing myself beyond what I think I am capable of has been a journey. Additionally, after learning more and expanding my repertoire, I know that I am capable of using those new skills and increasing the intricacy of my dance. I truly feel like I want to keep setting more expectations for my standards and what I think I am capable of in terms of choreography. I have so much room to grow in this skill, and though it may be stressful, I look forward to sharpening the part of my brain responsible for thinking creatively and using it even in other tasks besides dancing and choreographing. Through this role I play on my dance team, I've realized that setting aside time to choreograph can be a reward instead of a punishment if I choose to see it in the right light and not get bogged down with other stressors like school and just choose to focus on my art.

Though is a challenge, I have learned a lot about my creative and artistic brain functions. I have realized my limitations and my strengths in overcoming certain issues when it comes to scheduling creativity. Despite the battles, I think forcing myself to be creative in short stretches of time will ultimately teach me a better thinker.

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.

When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try out or audition to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples-to-oranges comparison.

At a basketball tryout, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential castmember will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little payoff for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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Writer's Block: A Road Block We've All Hit

In the corner, the deer head is mocking you.


It's two hours before your deadline and everything you start to type sounds terrible. You get five words into a sentence and you immediately hit the backspace button or throw your notebook across the room.

You think you have something solid and then you read it out loud and it's worse than you originally thought possible. Nothing sounds right to you and the clock is ticking. Minutes pass, but you can't seem to find anything that works.

You look all around the room for inspiration. In the corner, the deer head is mocking you and in the other corner, the hole in the ceiling is just reminding you of how empty your brain feels at the moment. Nothing is coming to you and it's no longer silent because your brother is upstairs singing in the shower and your sister is listening to music as she falls asleep.

Another half-hour has passed and you're drenched in sweat. Your pen is slipping out of your hand and you are stressing. Your fingers are sliding across the keys and not in the cool confident way. Your eyes are burning from the sweat droplets on the corners of your eyes.

It's writer's block and we've all been there.

In fact, right before I began this, I was experiencing it myself. I tried moving to different rooms in the house, asking three different people for ideas and listening/watching multiple platforms: acoustic music, sports, Amazon Prime TV, etc. Nothing was working and I was sure that I was going to miss my deadline and have nothing to turn in.

I honestly thought I was going to end up in a ball of tears.

However, I turned my problem into my solution and wrote down everything I was feeling.

Now, this may not always work, especially if you're writing something for school on the War of 1812 or Abraham Lincoln. One thing that will work is taking a deep breath. Write whatever comes to your mind and don't delete it, even if you think it's absolutely terrible. Some of my best writing has come from what I thought was terrible.

But most importantly, remember: Writer's block is real, but it's also overcomeable and you've probably dealt with it more than you realize.

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