We are all blessed with creativity. How can you tap into it at will?
No matter how creative you are, there comes a time when you find that your creativity box is just empty. There’s nothing there. It’s all used up! What do you do?
When I have challenges like this, I like to look back on my life’s experiences and remember what has worked for me before. Who wants to work too hard or overthink something when some answers or clues are at hand from the past?
Keep a daily journal, either online or write in a journal that you keep handy.
I have used notebooks throughout the day (either through Onenote or Journey. Then you can add your notes to your official journal when convenient. (I have affordable custom pocket notebook covers that hold 120 pages and help you stay organized and inspired; they are available here.). By recording your journey of opening up to more creativity, you will see progress! When you see progress, you will also notice various personal patterns. These patterns will tell you where you are strong and where you are weak. Then you can plan for more successful creativity. Commit to creativity each day. Be aware of what’s going on around you. Record random thoughts. Make it a goal to watch and note things that inspire you and spark that creativity. Never trust your memory to “write it down later.” Do it when the idea comes. You could also use your voice recorder on your smartphone to record ideas.
Prepare for inspiration by having an open mind.
First, as with all things, you have to have an open mind. Be open to ideas and suggestions. This often means controlling your creative environment. Have you ever wondered why when you were a child creativity came so easily? I believe that we all come to this earth with divine creativity. Children are “new” here, most have not learned to fear criticism or haven’t had to experience failure or great embarrassment. Children are innocent and try all kinds of new things. Not all endeavors will be successful, but risk-taking is part of the creative process and pushes you outside your comfort zone. Open your mind to love, creativity and receiving inspiration while driving out fear of failure or criticism. This will help you in all areas of life.
Learn to unplug at will.
This may be a challenge, but try to empty your mind of all daily concerns. Don’t worry about the laundry, or paying bills, or what you are fixing for your next meal — these things will be taken care of but for now, take these thoughts and put them in a mental lockbox, and lock them away. Try putting on relaxing music, take a relaxing shower, and have your favorite hot beverage ready. Learn to totally relax. Then, sit in a quiet place without distractions of smartphones, email notifications, or other things that will take your mind off of your goal. Focus on what makes you feel good? What always makes you happy? Envision love, creativity, and inspiration flowing all around you. These are good places to start.
Visit your favorite inspirational online niche experts.
Do you have a favorite online mentor or leader in your particular niche that always inspires you? Go check out their blog posts, photos, and suggestions. I find that this often opens up my mind. Meditate or ponder on these things. Be ready to receive inspiration. Usually, these people are leaders for a reason. They have things figured out. Choose someone that has achieved what you are trying to achieve. Typically, you will find you have a strong connection to these leaders. Use that connection to uplift you and your ideas.
Plan and take time for creativity.
Plan weekly brainstorming sessions. If you don’t make time for creativity, you may find that it gets buried beneath everyday activities and concerns. Since you are in training to tap your creativity, I suggest brainstorming by yourself. Maybe you can tie in your brainstorming with activities that don’t take much thought. When we lived way in the country, I found that while on our riding lawn mower, I did a lot of sorting out my thoughts. I can still do so while weeding in my garden. Maybe you prefer taking the dog for a walk. Whatever it is, plan and stick to a schedule where you brainstorm and track your ideas.
You can brainstorm with others, but I believe the participants should be chosen carefully and this should only be done now and then. You can brainstorm with others in your niche or wth those that love and support you. Often, our loved ones are more objective about our creative projects and are able to define where we excel or where we need to put more effort.
By planning your creative sessions, your mind will be trained to look forward to the activities and to associate brainstorming with learning and progress. As time goes by, you should get better and more powerful results from brainstorming.
Color, Sketch or Doodle.
Have you noticed the latest craze, adult coloring books? They are everywhere. Why? They reduce stress. If you can relax and reduce stress, your mind is free to wander and release new ideas. One word of advice. Don’t be disappointed in your doodles or sketches. They are an exercise. Just enjoy the process of sketching or doodling. Don’t worry about the results. As you practice, it will get easier and you will improve. In time, you will really enjoy the activity.
You will be amazed at how these activities can lead to new creative projects! Give it a try.
Sign up for a class that you’ve never taken before.
Stretch your mind, take it in a new direction. Try creative writing. If your budget is low, here are 10 Universities offering free writing courses. Learn to play an instrument. Learn to paint. Whatever intrigues you, whatever you’ve been meaning to try but never got around to it — do it now! There are so many classes and workshops for beginners; many are free. There really is no excuse. Creativity spreads across various activities so be open to ideas.
Connect to your inner child.
Don’t take life so seriously. Play. Connect to your playful inner child. Keep toys around your desk or work area. Watch cartoons. Role play. Write short stories. Anything that takes you to a playful imaginary place to free your thoughts and creativity. I still have “Mootilda,” the black and white cow that was Gateway Computer’s mascot when they first sstarted marketing. She’s cute, fun and playful. She reminds me of my home in the midwest.
Reward yourself for your creativity successes and your creative projects.
Associate your creative brainstorming sessions and the results. You are committed to creativity and the process. You do not fear the process nor are you afraid of failure. This in and of itself is a reason to celebrate! Create a space within yourself where you feel totally safe to explore all new ideas. Nurture your creativity and celebrate it! We all can be creative human beings. Once you’ve discovered how to tap into it at will, it’s time to celebrate! We are motivated by rewards so treat yourself. You will soon learn to associate the creative process with a reward.
Creative Exercise: Using your hands. 30 Circles.
In 2008, Tim Brown (TED Talks) introduced a story about Bob McKim, who led the Stanford Design Program. Bob had a favorite creative exercise about 30 circles. Tim gave everyone that attended a sheet of paper with 30 circles on it. He then instructed, “I’m going to give you one minute, and I want you to adapt as many of those circles as you can into objects of some form.So for example, you could turn one into a football, or another one into a sun. All I’m interested in is quantity. I want you to do as many of them as you can, in the minute that I’m just about to give you.”
Some people listened to his suggestions and used a circle for a football or a sun. Others started on some circles, but then seem stuck. What the experiment showed is that Tim was going for quantity, to see how many circles you could transform in one minute, but many people “self-edited” their work. They stopped the process to make things perfect or just listened to his suggestions but then had no ideas of their own.
We all know that children just simply get to it and start exploring possibilities when you give them materials to create with. As adults, we tend to be self-critical and have a difficult time opening up. We are afraid of failure or being laughed at. Did you realize that as Tim says, that with the desire to be original it can be a form of self-editing? Pablo Picasso had a controversial saying, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”
Here is the video about “Tales of Creativity And Play.” The entire video is pretty fascinating.
Start the video at 9:49 minutes if you want to see the details about the 30 Circles Exercise:
You know all of those creative geniuses that you see writing best-selling novels, painting new masterpieces, writing the next big pop chart hit? They make it look so easy, don’t they? Well, it is called a “craft.” That means, “An activity involving skill or exercising skill in making something. This means it takes work, planning, and practice.
According to businessdictionary.com: “An ability and capacity acquired through deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort to smoothly and adaptively carryout complex activities or job functions involving ideas (cognitive skills), things (technical skills), and/or people (interpersonal skills).”
God-given talent can take you only so far. You must develop your skills, practice, plan for the desired results, and experiment. The same is true for creativity. Plan for it, make time for it, exercise and train your mind for it. The results you desire will come.
May you spark your creativity and enjoyment of life each day,