Creative people are thought of as being able to express themselves through the arts – painting, drawing, writing, sculpture, dance, movie-making, and so on. But it is important to remember that creativity can be expressed in countless ways, from how you tell a funny story, or the way you dress, cooking an attractive and tasty meal, how you make surprise presents for other people in your life. Or you can dream up ingenious ways of managing the current coronavirus restrictions. Becoming more creative can make your day more enjoyable and satisfying, as you discover additional ways of doing routine things, and it keeps you more playful, cheerful, and entertaining as a person and a friend.
But what if you think, “I’m just not a creative person.”? We’ve all had those dispiriting moments — when we have hoped come up with a brilliant new idea, but no matter how much we try, we just cannot seem to think of anything new. It is easy to believe that we just lack those creative genes that other lucky people have.
But many experts assert that that creativity is not something people are born with; it is better thought of as a skill that can be learned and honed. So what can we all do to promote our creative talents – especially if we are feeling dull and bored? Everyone has the ways they like to develop skills. Here are some ideas to kickstart some creative thinking:
1) Start with ‘freewriting’ when you wake up.
Freewriting, Journaling, Morning Pages… these can all refer to writing down whatever comes into your mind, unedited, unchecked, and before the chatter of the day begins. If you find it challenging to write, you can sketch instead. Just set your watch for ten minutes… and write. No one will read this but you, so feel free to write down whatever springs into your mind. It need not (and probably will not) be profound. It is often these flyaway thoughts that can strike a close chord in our lives. Many people enjoy doing this. Why not give it a try. Freewriting has been found to allow people to rediscover priorities and become more productive throughout the day.
2) Doodle when you have a spare moment.
Doodling is thought actually to help increase creativity by increasing your engagement with the world and filling your attention span. Doodling enables you to stay on track during activities where you would otherwise zone out. This could include long telephone conversations or tiresome TV advertisements. It can be helpful to doodle during activities where you feel your mind is drifting from a subject. So if you find your thoughts wandering during a meeting at work, do some discrete doodling. Some people enjoy having a sketchbook purely for their doodles.
3) Learn something new.
Taking a creative course could be the right way to direct your creativity if you enjoy being guided. Creative courses could include creative writing, photography, music, art, literature and design – and a host of other subjects. You will be introduced to different ways of approaching topics, and ways of thinking and working that you can apply to your life are many ways.
If you are too apprehensive about asking for help at work, a studying environment can allow you to open up to others by way of workshop-style critiques. By discussing ideas with other people, you will feel encouraged to discover ways of organising your fleeting thoughts into words and images, while learning to manage constructive criticism from others.
4) Go to another place.
Changing our physical environment can work wonders on our moods and our abilities to create new ways of thinking. In contrast, the same surroundings, hour after hour can kill your creative spirit. Change can spark new thoughts and ideas. Maybe it is not enough to change rooms or even change buildings for that matter. Perhaps you just need a trip out of town or be around a new culture.
Different sounds, scents, tastes, sensations, and sights can refresh your thinking and habits. Even new experiences that are unrelated to creativity can add new ideas and perspectives when returning to our usual routine.
5) Sleep on a challenge.
Sleeping can often give your mind a break from thinking over a challenge. The rest can also help us to prepare for further mental and physical tasks ahead. A tired brain does not function well. According to Salvador Dali, all his best ideas came in his dreams. Perhaps that could happen in some instances for us too.
6) Take a break
One of the most important things you can do to boost your creativity is to give yourself space, and a break – to give yourself some distance from whatever it is you are working on from time to time. Psychologists have found that people are measurably more creative about how they solve problems after they have been for a walk in a natural environment. So it may help to include some regular breaks from your routine to enjoy the world outside.
7) Meet creative people.
If you think that you are running out of ideas, it could be time to connect with the creativity of other people. Meeting up with people with whom you can share your thoughts and get feedback can be great for your creativity. Different points of view and new energy can bring a fresh perspective on a subject that you are stuck on.
Whatever your route to creativity, maybe the best thing to do is to get started – right now.