seven ‘takes’ to spark your creativity

Creativity is a funny old thing.  Some days we feel completely inspired, and the ideas just seem to flow out of us. And yet at other times we find ourselves in an ideas drought, or a creative rut.

Often we require creativity for a job or a project, and we can’t just wait until we happen to be in a ‘creative mood’. We need to look for ways to help the creative ideas to flow.

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Below are 7 ‘takes’ that I find helpful to increase and tap into creativity.

1) Take a shower

There is scientific evidence to prove that taking a shower activates and triggers creativity. I won’t go into that now. But that has certainly been my experience. I try to quickly record all the ideas that have flowed in those few minutes in the shower.

2) Take a run

Up until about two years ago it would have been unforeseeable for me to even be suggesting this. I started running at a particularly challenging time in our life, initially as a valve to let out frustration. However, once I got past the I’m-so-unfit-I-can-literally-only-focus-on breathing-right-now phase I started to notice that ideas and thoughts would spring into my mind as I was running along. I would either quickly record ideas on my phone voice recorder, or if I was too out of breath I would write them down the second I got home.

3) Take a risk

Creativity often stems out of a break from the norm. Take a risk. Try something new. Do something that scares you. Do a skydive, join a club of some sort, give a talk on something. The new/scary experience will teach you something about yourself or something about others which will bring food for thought and release creativity.

4) Take a power nap

Taking a power nap boosts brain performance. It’s a scientific fact. Apparently. When possible, a 15 minute power nap does wonders for me. Any longer than that and I start to feel groggy, and it affects my nighttime sleep. But a short nap helps me to think more clearly, more positively, and more creatively.

5) Take a book

Reading gives us ideas. I like to read a mix of fiction and non-ficton. I like non-fiction for learning new concepts and theories about a variety of things, and I like fiction because it transports me into a whole other world. I instantly feel more creative after reading. Reading is a non-negotiable fo those of us who express their creativity through writing, If you’re a writer, you have to be a reader. You can’t be the former without being the latter.

6) Take a social media break

Step away from social media periodically. Allow yourself to get bored… remember those days when you were sitting in an airport, or a train station and you didn’t have a phone to amuse yourself? I have a distant recollection of those days, and I vaguely recall that in those times my boredom would invariably result in people-watching; I would imagine what conversations people were having with each other as I examined their facial expressions. I would observe all that was going on around me, taking in the sights, smells and sounds of my surroundings. Observation is a great tool for creativity. Social media far too easily keeps boredom at bay. When our heads are in our phones we often don’t break through the boredom threshold and come out the other side.  I like to have times in the week when I put aside social media and see where the ‘boredom’ takes me.

7) Take a notepad

You may have noticed in the above points how frequently I’ve referred to writing stuff down, or recording ideas. Sometimes creative ideas pop out of nowhere and we need to be ready to record them. I’ve had countless times where I’ve thought of a great idea for a blog post, and at the time it seemed so great that I reasoned I couldn’t possibly forget it. Experience tells me, however, that ideas do get forgotten if they’re not recorded. Write them down. Straight away. As soon as you get them. In a notepad, on an email, on whatever. Just make a note of them.

What would you add to the list? What sparks your creativity?

Five minute Friday: Hero

Today, I’m participating in Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday. Each Friday Lisa-Jo gives a 5 minute writing prompt. This week the prompt is “Hero”. So here’s my 5 minutes-worth:

Hero

She wasn’t the typical hero.

There was no cape, no loud extraversion, no extraordinary acts of salvation.

But her life made me stop in my tracks.

She became my hero.

Jesus oozed out of every pore of this woman. Love seeped out in unexpected ways.

This hero didn’t point to herself. There was no posturing, no pretension, no jostling. This hero had chosen to lose her life and in doing so had gained a greater life, bigger than her.

This hero’s whole life led me to the greatest Hero.

And through this earthly hero I fell in love again with this greatest Hero.

This all-time-Hero stretched out His arms, nailed to that cross, and uttered those words: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they’re doing.”

If ever I’m to be a hero , let me an upside-down, topsy-turvy hero, whose life sings of the greatest Hero.

Just like she did, when she stopped me in my tracks: the unlikely hero.

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centennial-ness

WordPress tells me that this is my 100th post. I can’t quite believe that this is the case but I’m sure the figures don’t lie. Whether or not it’s true I’m taking this opportunity to reflect a little, and to share some of my most popular posts. 

Although I don’t post here very frequently it has been a wonderful journey for me. There are many, many unpublished posts on my WordPress account which I don’t think I’ll ever post but they’ve provided a great space for me to process the wonder of life and what God’s saying in the midst of it. And for those posts that have made it into the public domain – I’m so very grateful to those who’ve read, commented, re-posted, encouraged or given me constructive feedback along the way. Thank you.

Anyone who has ever written anything publicly can probably identify with how vulnerable and fear-inducing it can feel to hit that “publish” button. But often the more scary it’s felt to press that button, the more it seems to have impacted others. It seems that when we share our hearts – our real, raw, unfiltered hearts that we somehow bring encouragement to others. Maybe it’s because we begin to realise that we’re not the only ones with doubts, fears, insecurities, secret hopes and dreams. And the one thing that hits me time and time again is that we humans spend a lot of our lives trying to appear more secure and more “sorted” than we really are! I’m all for God bringing healing and restoration into those places. I want that so much in my own life, and in the lives of those I love. But whilst that restorative work is still going on (oh, that will be the rest of my life then) I want to try and keep my mask off and be honest about where I really am. The church, and by that I mean the body of God’s people, was never meant to be about a group of people who thought they’d got it all together. Quite the opposite. It’s meant to be a group of people who know they haven’t got it all together but rely on the One who holds all things together.

So I guess my hope is that this space, this blog, is a place where some of that can happen.

Anyhow, that was a bit of an aside…To mark this centennial moment I  thought I’d share with you my top 5 most-read posts:

  1. Do kids ruin your life?
  2. What if we allowed our kids to be a channel rather than an obstacle
  3. Is your mission sexy enough?
  4. On parenting and foundation-laying
  5. 2013:one life

love anna

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