I believe that each person has the capacity to be creative in one way or another, whether that be dancing, singing, painting, drawing, crafting, decorating, dressing, gardening, cooking or writing. If we come up with new ideas or insights about anything, we are being creative. Creativity is the soul of life and the more creativity you bring to your life, the richer it will be.
It doesn't always come easy though. Creativity often means stepping out of our comfort zone, doing something no one else is doing, or facing some of our greatest fears. The following are guidelines about how to be more creative in your life.
- Work Hard. Creativity doesn’t just happen. If
you wait around for inspiration to strike, it won’t. Sit down with a pencil and
a piece of paper and draw. Take out your camera and take a bunch of
pictures. Put some music on and dance. Study it, learn new techniques. Keep pushing your boundaries.
- Be Prolific. Choose something you want
to get better at and set a goal to make 10 of them. Dedicate a certain numbers of hours each week to doing what you love. Keep producing stuff until you figure it out and then make more.
- Embrace Fear. Afraid of making a mistake? There are
no mistakes. It’s all part of the process of working through ideas, refining,
getting better. We learn from mistakes. Afraid of making something ugly? We have to work through the ugly to get to the good stuff.
- Be Messy. Have a place where you can make a
mess and leave it a mess. Set aside a room, a closet or a corner in the garage
that is all yours. Flail about. Be spontaneous. Act on instinct and intuition.
- Accept Everything.
Judgments and rejections should have no place in the initial stages of
creating. Act like a tourist. Be curious about everything. Take the time to read about new things. Research topics you are interested in. Follow the breadcrumbs to a new place.
- Protect Alone Time. We all need
to be alone to get our initial ideas out and to experiment. I find that a three
hour chunk of time is the minimum. This is your time to do your thing. Don't compromise it with anything or anyone and always put it at the top of your to-do list.
- Switch It Up. It’s
important to step away from the creative work you are doing and think about something
else. When you return to it you’ll have a clearer idea of what you need to do
next and a renewed sense of wonder about it. Each creative endeavor you pursue can also inform the others. Diversity! Cross-pollination!
- Turn It Off. I'm talking about the TV, the news and the internet. All of these are distractions to the creative work you need to do. Look for inspiration in real life, not through someone else's filter. Go for a walk, visit the library or a museum, attend a conference, go to an art opening, meet a friend for coffee.
- Like-Minded Friends. Spend time with other people who do what you do. Taking a class is a fast way to find pals. Sharing what you love with others will also draw people to you who are similar. These friends will help you grow in what you do, they will share resources with you and give you constructive feedback.
- Be Kind. Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend who asked you for advice. Be nice to yourself. We can be our greatest critic and the self editing or disregard we can have for ourselves will stop creativity right in it's tracks.
Feeling more creative yet? I hope so, but maybe you are already doing most of these things and STILL feel stuck sometimes. In that case, you need some advanced techniques. Check out these articles for more information: