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.
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?