Lately there has been a theme bubbling up from my clients and in workshops: Creativity. What makes a person creative? How can I be more creative? I’d like to have time for my other interests like… cooking, painting, my “compulsive craftiness”, writing, or photography. My business needs some new ideas, but I feel stuck. I need some inspiration in my life.
Now it is easier than ever to be creative. There are a plethora of resources at our disposal: hello Photoshop and iphoto, DIY Network, blogs on style, knitting, painting etc. It is also easier to be distracted by all these resources, never mind our daily realities of email, work responsibilities, family, etc. The Internet holds a mired of tips about creativity, but I though I would share the ones I use and find tested and true. They are in no particular order, just the way they tumbled out today.
1. Stop telling yourself you are not creative. You are. We all are. Some of us are just more adept at showing it- a tip of my hat to my artist friends. There is not a kid the world that does not dive into the deep end of creativity when they play. The imagination is a wonderful thing. We don’t lose our imagination, but it might become a bit rusty from lack of use.
2. Quiet & stillness. Get a way from the distractions. Find a way to center your self and connect to what interests you. You don’t need any woo-woo rituals do this. Maybe getting up early, drinking your morning cup-o-joe, looking out the window gets you centered. Maybe some mindful breathing works for you. Whatever allows you to be focused and centered is the thing to do.
3. Schedule it. Now this seems counter intuitive to the classic image of the painter working when the moment strikes, or the writer suddenly dashing off to write a masterpiece when inspiration goes off like fireworks. Most creative people I know, be they painters, dancers, knitters, writers, jewelers, or cooks, practice and set aside for work, regularly. They make it a priority and hold time sacredly in their calendars. – the both the group who are professionals and those of us who are amateurs, especially those of use who are amateurs.
4. Nature, be in it. Sunshine. Moonlight. A potted plant or a 5 acre spread. A park. What is more creative than nature? All those colors, sounds, smells, textures, the shifts of light creating new patterns. Find inspiration everywhere. What catches your eye when you are outside?
5. Play with your senses. Move your body. Dance, garden, sing. Hum. Strum. Taste something new. Listen to a type of music you don’t normally hear. Go to the fabric store and touch some materials. Look
6. Be silly, usually you’ll end up laughing and in a good mood. Positive moods enhance and support creativity. You can let your guard down and just play. Here’s a wonderful example courtesy of my Mom and oldest nephew: “At the post office, Q and I picked up the package of summer reading books, bought a book of stamps and mailed 2 letters. I peeled the narrow fold indicator on the book of stamps and plopped it on the box he was holding. A minute later, a glance at Q showed he had sprouted a thin, white mustache. It looked both funny and elegant on his serious, handsome face.”
7. Experiment. Let go of temptation to be “perfect”- what is important is to be open and to try. Expose your self to something new. Do something new. So what if you don’t turn out a perfect product- chances are you learned something, and that gives you more material with which to work. I can not tell you how many times I have ripped out inches and inches of stitches from a knitting project, or found I needed to move a plant from where it was struggling to grow. Never mind the wonderdous “trial and correction” creative pursuit that has lead to many a discovery in science.
8. Capture what captures you. Some folks keep a notebook with them where they write doe ideas, paste in images, or doodle what captures their eyes. Other folks, like Twyla Tharp use a box where they collect materials that inspire them. I use a bulletin board to collect images, words and thoughts.
9. Don’t force it. If you are not feeling inspired to work, do something related like diving into a new book about your area of interest. Or take a break and then come back to what you were doing.
Here is an interesting bonus tip from Jeffrey Baumgartner.
10. If you’re stuck for an idea, open a dictionary, randomly select a word and then try to formulate ideas incorporating this word. You’d be surprised how well this works.
“Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Lewis Carroll