How to be more creative


I bet each of us has sat down in front of a blank sheet of paper to write something — and have proceeded to draw a blank. We all have those moments where our creativity stalls on us. As a creative worker, I rely on having my creative juices flowing all the time. I can’t afford to have them stop! So, when I just can’t get the ideas to flow, I do have some strategies to get them going again. Here are a bunch of sure-fire methods for kick-starting your creativity.

We hear about creative flashes of inspiration. It sounds sudden and unexpected — as if it happens to you out of the blue. Most creativity does not happen this way.

But first, why would you want to increase your creativity?

What is the value of being a more creative person? I think the biggest reason is to bring more joy into your life. We humans seem to get a real kick out of making things and figuring stuff out. Whether it is making a great meal out of the last few ingredients in the fridge, painting a picture or coming up with a killer rebuttal that nails your political opponent on a televised debate — we like how it feels to create.

Do you need more reasons?

Being more creative will make you more interesting, and it will make you more interested. Creativity stimulates your brain, makes you learn, contributes to better health, helps you problem-solve, adds beauty to your life and makes life generally more engaging. We all want that, don’t we?

Isn’t creativity spontaneous?

We hear about the overnight sensation, flashes of inspiration, about people being discovered and ideas that hit you. It sounds sudden and unexpected — as if it happens to you out of the blue. Most creativity does not happen this way. Creativity is not spontaneous. It might seem sudden from the outside, but those flashes of inspiration only occur once you’ve set the stage and created the opportunity for it to happen. If you provide the right circumstances and take the necessary steps then you too can have flashes of ‘spontaneous’ inspiration.

1) Get ready to be creative.

I call this ‘setting the stage’. This means to create the conditions under which you are most likely to be creative. This is going to be a little different for everyone: some people need quiet; others work well with the pressure of a deadline. But your mind can’t be all that creative if it is concerned with keeping you safe or fed, or when you are exhausted, lethargic, sick, distracted, upset or angry. Being generally rested, healthy and balanced will set the stage for most people to be more creative.

2) Reduce the noise.

We all have useless noise racing through our minds. It is like clutter — and it gets in the way. It can feel like anxiety, or worry, or maybe obsessively working too much. Whatever it is, we need to calm our minds down. Meditation or vigorous exercise can work. Another useful technique is to do some daily writing in long hand every morning: expel whatever noise is going through your mind. These techniques really work to clear the mind — it’s like clearing some room for creativity to happen.

3) Make a decision.

This next thing may seem obvious, but you need to make a conscious decision to become more creative. You need to be deliberate about it. It won’t just happen. You need to decide that you want to do it and that it is worthwhile enough to you that you will do what is necessary. So what is necessary? The most important thing you need to do to increase your creativity is to do your creative activity repeatedly. Doing something once every five years is not going to produce much — you’ll probably have that blank page syndrome every time. Whether it is drawing, writing or strategizing, you need to do it repeatedly. This means making a commitment to work for some amount of time at some chosen interval. It might be one hour per week, it could be 30 minutes a day — the intervals are your decision. The key is that it needs to be regular, like a habit. You’ll get more out of it if you do it more often. It is not easy — but the impact on your creativity will be dramatic.

It may seem obvious, but you need to make a conscious decision to become more creative.

Setting the stage is the biggest piece of the creative puzzle. It takes commitment, but the change you will experience will be drastic. If you make the decision to be more creative, set the stage, and do it regularly, then you are certain to light your creative fire! Once you have that fire going, you can stoke it to take your creative quest even further.

In the next issue of the our newsletter I will describe what I like to call “stirring the pot”: how to increase your creativity and have ideas that you can’t even imagine — yet.