It can be difficult to find creativity. It has been elusive for me as an author, who makes things up to make a living.
The problem is, most of us feel a drive to create…to leave small traces of ourselves in the world—a bit of proof that we do, in fact, exist. Often you’ll hear that creation is one of life’s sacred needs. Even if this doesn’t ring true for you, it’s not likely you’ll be able to avoid creating altogether. In this world driven by content—even if you’re not in an industry that is typically considered creative—being original and coming up with out of the box ideas is imperative. You’ll find a greater sense of ownership in your projects, and gain the added benefit of impressing your boss or clients.
There are a lot of ways to rattle up those creative juices, and you might find you’ll add a little adventure to your life while you’re at it.
1. Explore Other Things
We live in a fast-paced world—one where it’s way too easy to fall into that trap of just getting stuff done. We have our routines and schedules and don’t often stop to think a whole lot about trying different or new things. Take a moment to think about it… when was the last time you did something truly different? This doesn’t have to be scary or difficult, and you’ll find that if you start small, it just might become an adventurous habit.
How would you feel if:
- Try a different food
- You have tried out new activities like rock climbing or paddleboarding.
- Participated in a volleyball team, lawn hockey or floor hockey league (bonus points for making new friends!)
- Mixed things up everyday—try on a new genre of music, or travel a new route to work, or even simply watch a video on a topic you’ve always wanted to know more about
2. Be Creative and Go where other creative people are
One of the foundations of creativity is how you combine ideas. You can incubate new ideas and art from the existing ones. You could come up with a new angle or twist or maybe your area of expertise fused with something you’ve never seen could birth something incredible. I’m certainly not talking about copying anyone else, but inspiration breeds innovation.
You might also like:
- You can attend the theatre live or on-screen
- Visit frequently museums and galleries
- Sponsor a local artist for an opening/book signing
- Open mic nights are great opportunities to meet other artists and learn from them.
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” — Steve Jobs
3. You can save your ideas
I’d bet that you’re more creative than you think. It’s just that interesting ideas sometimes take a stroll through our minds then decide to take an extended leave of absence. You don’t have to be worried. Most of us already have a “notebook” with us at all times in the notes app in our smartphones—I have so many notes in mine, I have to create folders to keep them all sorted.
You can also try these other tricks:
- Keep track of your dreams – start writing the moment you wake up or they’ll float away like a whispery fog
- If you’re anything like me, ideas will often appear like magic while you’re in the shower. Keep your phone—and a towel!—nearby
- Record ideas that pop by when you’re watching TV, movies or reading books—these are potential jumping off points for something new
- Journal! I find that when I make a point to just get started…ideas will start to appear. Or maybe they were there all along and I just didn’t recognize them
4. Don’t forget to give yourself some space
It can be much more challenging to think of creative ideas and thoughts when our minds are too busy in the daily grind. If you struggle with a flow of creativity, maybe it’s because stress can often get in the way.
These are just a few of the things that you might try.
- You might have a mind that is constantly racing and unable to sleep. Try to relax it by writing down everything you need to do today. After the task has been saved it will be easier to relax. Add a reminder to your phone or task.
- I’m sure you’ve heard it before (hello konmari method), but clearing your work areas and living space can definitely help optimize your time and energy. Organised spaces equal organized minds (for the majority of us). Beautiful spaces can be a catalyst for beautiful ideas,
- Ponder (or perhaps meditate), but don’t ruminate. What’s the difference? What is the difference between positivity and negativity? When I “ponder”, it’s a lot more like daydreaming than it is letting negative thoughts whirl around in there. Think about the amazing things this world has to offer – all the beautiful art, nature, food, people, places, and amazing ideas. Make a list of the things you enjoy, that are interesting, positive, peaceful, and reassuring.
5. Be Free from Fear
The comparison game is my greatest enemy in creativity. We are all on our own journeys—let yourself have the unique, quirky, frustrating, and gorgeous one only you can create. Experiment. Try. Fail. What if it all just didn’t matter so much? When I’m feeling overwhelmed and fearful, I try to take a step back and ask myself just that—what if it didn’t matter so much? You know what you will find? It actually doesn’t matter as much as I’m making it out to in my head.
Make failure a priority – without mistakes, there is no learning or progress. Give failure credit where it is due. Challenge yourself—especially when things get hard
Some think creativity is meant for artists and inventors, but it’s surprising how much creativity day-to-day work and living require. Creative endeavors include planning, problem solving, cooking, and more. If we’re not creating, we’re stagnant. We all need creativity.
Even if you’re not specifically looking to “be more creative”, I can guarantee at the very least, trying out some of these tactics will make you a much more interesting person. It might surprise you to see how much creativity you actually have.