I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. – Michelangelo
Creativity is a fickle thing. It can ebb and flow and sometimes it can simply dry up. Creativity is a prized resource for problem solvers, artists, and for folks just like you and me who could use a dose of inspiration from time to time to find new, exciting ways to live.
While there isn’t one approach that will increase your levels of creativity, there are certain actions you can take that will cultivate it. If you find yourself stuck with how to talk with your teenager, or can’t decide what color to paint your kitchen, or if you are experiencing writer’s block, consider these 15 ways to feed your creativity.
- Show off what you create.
Creativity can be stimulated by encouragement. If you are a painter, reveal your work. If you are a businessperson, share your latest Gantt chart or PowerPoint presentation. Showcase your best work to receive inspiring compliments. Allow this encouragement to give your creativity a boost.
- Feed it.
Take in what makes you creative. Writers > read books or blogs; Musicians > listen to music; Salespeople > attend seminars; Parents > talk with other parents. Hook your creativity receptors to sources that will give it the best chance of being re-energized.
- Make time to be creative.
A busy schedule with little time to feed your creativity is a recipe for dullness. Consider waking up ten minutes earlier to read inspiring material or reach for a paint brush instead of the television’s remote control. Creativity, like other forms of life, needs time to grow.
- Celebrate your creativity.
What you pay attention to grows. If you need a shot of creativity then put a spotlight on it. Go back and look at something you built using your amazing creative talent. Honor it, brag about it and enjoy it.
- Don’t expect perfection.
Being creative isn’t about being perfect; it’s about following your heart and being inspired by your vision. Creativity is about taking chances, pushing the envelope and being okay with making mistakes along the way. Creativity can’t be done perfectly; but it can be done with heart and soul – and there’s tremendous value in that.
- When something is working, stay with it!
Southerners in the United States believe, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There is practical wisdom in this adage. If you have a particular habit or ritual that is feeding your creativity then stay with it as long as it is benefiting you. Why change for the sake of change?
- Listen to music
Music is an effective stimulant. It can get your blood pumping and your brain thinking. When I write, I grabbed my iPod earphones and insert them into my laptop. I enjoy almost-commercial-free internet radio stations like Pandora (limited free membership) and AOL Radio (always free; but with more commercials). Let the music take you from the busyness and to place where it’s just you and your creativity.
- Make lists.
Make your plan and work your plan. Often when the path has been defined, and you know where you are going, it’s easier to relax and let the creative juices flow. Make lists of the things you want to accomplish and the resources needed. Double-check these lists and then put them aside. Your lists may create the foundation; but your creativity creates the spirit.
- Use paper and pencil.
- Carry an idea notebook.
- The three “Es”
Exercise is the first of three “Es” that will jump start your creativity. Clearly exercise is good for increasing your fitness level and it’s good for elevating your mood, too. Exercise is responsible for releasing the second “E,” endorphins. These hormone-like substances create the “runner’s high,” leading to the third, “E,” euphoria. On the days when your creativity seems stalled, take a brisk walk and your mind will be revived again.
- Put the bottle down.
Though alcohol may put you in a state of relaxation, it’s actually a depressant and if too much is consumed it will actually suppressed creativity. So, pour a glass of wine for the evening and then retire the bottle.
- Work in your beautiful place.
Beauty is eye candy for the mind. Find your beautiful place and take in its sights, sounds and smells. Consider your favorite room, a garden or a warm coffee shop and plant yourself there to trigger a flow of newfound creativity.
- Set a deadline.
Setting deadlines can have a positive effect on creativity. Rather than looking at deadlines as pressure, view them as opportunities to promote your work. Get charged up by considering how your project will be received. Set a reasonable deadline and then celebrate its completion by feeling good with what you created.
- Don’t give up.
The temptation to quit is strongest the day before you realize your dream. Believe the achievement of your dream will make a difference. Use this fact as motivation when the doubt grows louder. Your purpose, your creativity, is uniquely yours. After all, you were created to make a difference like no else can.
Sometimes going “old school” can take you back to your roots – and back to your creativity. Close the laptop, put down the Smartphone and grab an old-fashioned Big Chief tablet along with a yellow #2 pencil and let your thoughts rip. Doodle, draw circles, or jot down notes. Your brain, and the creativity in it, will respond in amazing ways.
Inspiration is not on a schedule. It can be found anyplace and at anytime. Be ready with a small memo pad in your pocket to capture inspiration when it surprises you.
How do you feed your creativity?
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