Eleven Tips to Be Creative (I was aiming for Ten, but I guess I was feeling creative)
While this is certainly not a definitive or a scientific list, there are certain things I personally do to improve my chances of having a creative day:
1. Read about lots of different topics – I’m not very into “niches”…and have never liked being “put into a box”. After all, no one category or “box” can describe me, which is probably the same for most people. I get bored with niches and am interested in so many different hobbies and topics. Learning about various current events and varied topics not only keeps life interesting, but keeps one’s mind alert and creative. One’s brain starts to connect disparate ideas and topics and relates them in new and different ways.
2. Take different routes to work/school/shopping. I’m not a neuroscientist, but I realize that doing something differently and not in the same old rut makes those synapses fire away. New connections are made in our brains, which are then recharged to start thinking differently. Besides, you might discover that new gift shop that just opened or an enticing bakery that you never knew existed.
3. Listen to music. Different types of music. Jazz. Rock. Alternative. World. Pop. Opera. Heck, even Country. Also, listen to your favorite song from when you were a senior in high school. Listening to your favorite music from days of yore, not only brings back good memories, but stirs your mind. Every painting class I’ve ever taken played background music during studio time. Music stimulates the right side of your brain, which of course is necessary for creativity. iTunes, CDs, and the radio are great, of course, but if you have the opportunity to hear some live music – even better!
4. Window shop and browse catalogs and magazines. You don’t need to spend money for this. However, just looking at a myriad of items and products, especially colorful and/or creative products stimulates my thinking and gets me excited to start creating! And, if you can afford it, spring for that new dress or bedspread while you’re at it!
5. Look at art. Get to a local museum, gallery, or art fair. Galleries and fairs usually have free entry and even museums may be free (donations accepted) on certain days of the week. Whether you are an artist or not, nothing stimulates the right brain like looking at various types of painting, sculpture, mixed media and photography.
6. Make time to recharge. Allow a little bit of time each day for yourself to relax or participate in your favorite hobby. Most people can’t be creative 24 hours a day…I know that I need to have a bit of down time daily to allow myself to recharge, so I can then focus my creativity for those times when I NEED to be creative.
7. Practice the art of brainstorming…when trying to come up with a solution or a new idea, let yourself relax and just write whatever crazy ideas come into your head. Most of the ideas might be too crazy to act upon, but write them down nonetheless. Don’t be discriminating. Try to come up at least 20 ideas. Later on, you can go back and cross off the ideas that simply won’t work. But, all you need is for 1 idea out of 20 to be the solution you’re looking for!
8. If you’re going to watch TV, watch something educational or a do-it-yourself type of channel. Seeing people working hard at their creative products, whether it be decorating, home re-design, or cooking that delicious and nutritious meal in under half-an-hour, motivates me, teaches me, and usually gives me ideas.
9. Exercise. The solution to whatever problem I’m trying to solve sometimes comes to me suddenly while I’m taking a brisk walk or using the elliptical trainer. I guess the increased blood circulations gets ideas circulating in the brain too!
10. Keep a journal. It doesn’t have to be a diary, and you don’t need to begin every entry with “Dear Diary…”. However after receiving a Christmas gift of a blank journal, I began jotting down creative ideas in it whenever I would think of something. I realized that I’ve always been creative, but I often forgot my “inspired ideas” by the next day, because I never wrote them down. My brain would then move on to the next idea, but it would then leave a trail of forgotten ideas behind. Now I DO write them down, and I can refer to them anytime I want. It is improving the amount of action I take on these ideas. In fact, my idea for this blog was jotted down randomly in this journal…
11. Eat healthy and take your vitamins! Being nutritiously minded keeps one’s energy, brain and heart at peak levels. On the other spectrum, lethargy leads to fewer ideas, and, more importantly, less energy to act upon those ideas.