Creativity is like any other learned skill, it can be developed through practice. Just like basketball players spend endless hours on the court and Olympians devote themselves to their training when it comes to creativity we too can train our minds to be more creative and imaginative.
Our journey starts with developing new habits that inspire our brains to think more creatively. With some patience and practice, these techniques will nurture and boost your creativity -- not only in regards to painting or drawing, but for every kind of creative there is.
Photo courtesy of Freestocks / Unsplash
Find inspiration in other creative works -- read books that inspire you or learn about other artists and their craft. This should motivate you and inspire you to get things done.
Inspiration is not the source of creative ideas but it does prompt a motivational response to take action. This scientific study of inspiration and the creative process states that “the process of being inspired by gives way to the process of being inspired to, which motivates action.” In other words, being inspired by watching a documentary on Michael Jordan’s life and success will serve as a catalyst and prompt you to take action towards your own talents and creations.
Filter and disconnect from Social Media.
As entertaining as scrolling through photos of cute puppies and funny memes might be, it doesn’t always nurture our creativity. Try doing these two things to avoid getting distracted.
- Filter the content on your social media by un-following, or muting accounts that you don’t align with anymore. Think of your Instagram as a vision board - you want to feel visually motivated to want to create as you scroll through your timeline.
- Put your phone on Do Not Disturb. When a notification pops up, our first reaction is to look over and our focus shifts, interrupting our creative flow. Keeping the phone out of sight and out of mind will help you remain focused.
Reading, especially fiction, stimulates the imagination. It’s true when they say a book can take us into a new world. As we take words off the page and visualize the breeze caress the vast lavender fields, the vibrant hues of the northern lights dancing in the night sky, sharing a cup of coffee on a cobblestone street in France, we expand our mind and use our imagination to visualize.
In fact, Elon Musk who wears many hats as an industrial designer, technology entrepreneur, and philanthropist has admitted to reading up to 10 hours a day, claiming to be “raised by books”. We might not be keen to read for ten hours but, it’s the pattern of behavior that’s worth imitating
Create without expectations.
“Studies show that individuals who engage in creative activities for the sake of the activities themselves and not for the sake of the results are better able to come up with original and valuable ideas”.
Focus on the actual task of creating without any expectations. Write, paint, draw, brainstorm ideas, play an instrument. the more you use your brain to create, the stronger the connections between the cells in the brain become involved. Training our brains to cultivate creativity.
Cross-train your mind and learn a new topic.
In a TED talk given by Tim Hartford on slow-motion multitasking, he goes on to explain how researchers have studied highly creative people and have found that very often they have multiple projects in progress going on at the same time” think of it as cross-training the mind. The same way a yoga practice can improve your running, taking up a creative writing class can improve your drawing skills. Take the time to learn and research other topics. Broadening your knowledge by learning unfamiliar topics will promote new ideas.
Take a step back to prompt a Eureka moment.
We all get Eureka moments. That moment in time when the sparks fly and an idea comes to you. Keep in mind that these flashes of insight happen when we step back from our work. When you do find these moments, make it a point to write it down, and preserve it. This keeps us from forgetting and it allows us to go back, reflect, and connect the dots.
Let it happen.
Creativity is a built-in human trait, we all have it in us. Yes, it does come more naturally for some but it is also a skill that can be developed. Set some time aside to boost your creativity. Be inspired by other artists (not just visual artists), let your imagination run through the pages of a book, learn a different skill, and most importantly have an open mind.
How about you?
Which technique resonates with you the most? How you pull yourself out of a creative rut? Share your insights and tips in the comments down below! :-)