Studying can take up a lot of time and there will be times when you want to do nothing in your spare time but slump in front of the TV or just chill out with friends.
However, being creative in your free time can be beneficial in many ways. Firstly, it keeps your brain active but in a different way from academic study. Secondly, if you are currently in a lockdown it can help pass the time constructively, and thirdly, you might even make some money from a creative pursuit.
Why should you try to be creative?
A creative hobby or sideline can lead to meeting new like-minded people or to a new business idea. You may not think of yourself as a creative person but there are many options available for different people and if you are under social restrictions then there can be health benefits too. Stress, anxiety, and depression are all problems during a lockdown, and being active and pursuing a hobby can help with these areas.
Although Netflix is great, here are some ways you can be more creative (and maybe make some dough) instead of slouching on the sofa.
Learn to play a new instrument
Got some spare time? Might be the perfect time to try out a musical instrument and see where you go from there.
Choosing an instrument is your first step and the most popular starting instruments tend to be piano, guitar, drums, and violin. A piano is a great choice for beginners and can help to build a strong foundation for learning other instruments later. For many though, the guitar will be the instrument they choose. There are many YouTube videos to learn basic chords, tutorials for guitar tabs, and also websites to help learn chords from your favorite songs. For instance, if you want to learn Nirvana chords you can just upload one of their songs and the website will display them all for you to play.
Write music or a song
If you aren’t interested in an instrument or you already play one then you could write and record your music. Apple’s GarageBand allows home users to record and mix their tracks in the bedroom. It has been used by professional musicians including Radiohead and you could be making your own music. If you are a beginner in this area use Songwriter’s Pad for some help or another resource. Music education websites can help with chords guitar and lyrics when you are starting. Once you have your track finished you can share it on Soundcloud. It is always possible that you could be the next big thing.
Write a mobile app
Have coding skills? Know someone who does? Your creativity and someone else’s coding could go together to make a hit app. If you have time on your hands and some solid ideas then this could be a good way to make money while at college.
Nearly everyone has a smartphone or tablet and billions of apps are downloaded from both the Google Play Store and Apple. There are a few ways these apps are delivered; one is free-to-try, another is free-to-play and the last needs to be purchased. These different business models all generate revenue but in different ways. If you make a useful app or an addictive game then you could release it for free but generate income through advertising or in-app purchases. There are tens of billions of reasons to get creative with an app.
This can be a great way to put your ideas onto paper. You might find all you want to do is keep a diary but perhaps you will discover you enjoy writing and it takes you further. Movies and graphic novels use imagery and can leave little to the imagination but pure writing can paint an image. The reader will conjure up their pictures and it will be your words that take them there.
Writing opens up a lot of doors too. You can use your new hobby to write for local publications, write short stories or a book, work with a friend to make a graphic novel or even start blogging.
Write your own blog or work on someone else’s
There are literally millions of blogs in the world and with content management systems such as WordPress or blogging sites such as Medium it couldn’t be easier to start your own.
The main thing about blogging is that you should write about something you understand and enjoy. This way it stays fun. Finding the right subject means you can have a hobby that is creative and is also a healthy way to spend your free time.
If you are writing about things you do not understand then you will be frustrated and your creativity will be blunted. If you have an interest in music then start a blog about learning instruments or about the local band scene. If you are into organizing extra-curricular activities then start a blog about college life and activities available. In short, look to yourself for what subject matter you should cover. A successful blog can lead to advertising revenue also which can make your new hobby profitable too.
Painting and drawing
Not everyone is musical or wants to write but you might have other talents. You could buy a sketch pad and see where it takes you. Drawing and painting can be not only creative but therapeutic too. You could use your talents to make posters for college events or local band nights. Or, join up with a friend who writes and then create a graphic novel together.
If you are a complete beginner but producing art is something you have always wanted to be able to do then look online. There are plenty of lessons online to help learn how to draw landscapes, people, and still-life. You can learn some basic but useful skills there and then develop more of your own.
Learn graphic design
Your college major might not include anything artistic but the chances are you have a laptop or desktop that is perfectly capable of running design software. Download Adobe Illustrator and you can start experimenting with all the tools available.
The beauty of this is you don’t need to have great drawing skills as the tools here will let you unleash your imagination. Plus if you err you can just hit undo.
You could try making jewelry or designing t-shirts. Perhaps you enjoy sketching and drawing cartoons but don’t have any focus for it. Those creative skills could be used to make your own t-shirts. You can have custom-made shirts just for you or you could give or sell them to friends. If they seem popular then you can set up a shop at Etsy or somewhere similar.
Crafts including jewelry, beads, and other things such as picture frames can all be made at home and are a very creative way to customize your look, your rooms and if you make too much, just sell them online.
Getting creative is good for keeping the brain active and helps increase joy. Listening to music is a great way to relax but playing your own can mean other people get enjoyment from it too. Drawing, writing, and creating crafts are all creative ways to spend time and these hobbies could even turn into small businesses.