You paused on this title. You are reading these words. Something has already aroused your curiosity about your own creative potential. Maybe you have creative aspirations. Maybe your creativity is blocked and you are wondering how to bring back your zing. Or maybe you are skeptical and are thinking “Really! As if the creative process can be flattened out to be stretched across, like a game of hopscotch – start here – throw a pebble – move there – reach home – woops stumbled! Start again.”
Okay. Loosen up a bit here. Creativity is something we all have. As humans we were gifted with this at birth. We were also gifted with imagination (the thing that inspires us to take action) and the drive to create. So what’s stopping us?
My guess is, our own definition of what it means to be creative. I’ll take it a step further. It might sound like this “whatever I produce will be looked upon by many people. People I love, people I am in awe of, peer people, people of influence and all these peeps have one thing in common – they judge.”
You may wish to read those words above one more time because you already know this, however I want you to recognise some or all of these aspects that may have become part of your automated thinking – what we call our inner dialogue – the one that thinks we need to have gained a PhD in just about everything we do before we can launch into, well, anything! So let me emphasis the word recognise one more time – re –cognise – to see again. The more you re-cognise these inner limiting thoughts the less power they have on you. And for you little gurus out here, yes I am talking about awareness.
So here we go. The following 8 steps to Unleashing Your Inner Creativity are to be viewed more like the circular hopscotch in the image. This is not a step by step, linear approach to creativity. It’s more fluid and fun. Pick one or two of these tips that resonate with you and practice them. Set an intention for each tip and it will create an even deeper experience for you to reflect on upon.
Even for the most successful artist, musician, and entrepreneur, creativity doesn’t always flow like a constant stream of lightning bolts. It is something that we need to set time aside for, plan for, and nurture. But how to make the time when we work 9-5?
1. Meditate – Neuroscience shows that regular meditation increases brain activity in areas associated with creativity. It also helps ease the ‘amygdala’ part of our brain, which is where the brain processes fear (what our inner dialogue causes). Put simply, meditation is the key to unlocking insight and erasing anxiety around feeling vulnerable when trying unfamiliar experiences. When we set time aside for meditation, we are benefiting our mindfulness, allowing us to connect to the creative and imaginative self that we can feel so easily detached from in our day to day life.
Tip – Please don’t make mediation a big hooha in your life. Find a practice that works with you emotionally and time wise. I suggest one that is with music or the soothing voice of guide and something that is say up to ten minutes. That’s it. You can download lots of different types of mediation on your smart phone and let the shuffle pick a different one for you each time.
2. MAKE time – Don’t have time? Make it. This might mean breaking up your routine. Instead of hitting snooze, force yourself out of bed, have a shower, meditate, and get imaginative! If you feel that you used to be more creative but have found the 9-5 routine hasn’t given you much time left in the day, rather than log on to social media (which can consume up to 3 hours of someone’s day), go to an art gallery and look at things that do and don’t inspire you. Take time to research artists, designers, or musicians that make you feel something, then get cracking! We all can have time. It’s whether or not we really want it.
Tip – Julia Cameron, the author of The Artists Way offers this excellent tip. It’s called an artists date, where you take yourself out once a week to experience something cultural ALONE. Go to see an art house movie, go to see some live music, read about the life of an artist that interests you (including business gurus here), doodle for an hour at a coffee shop, buy yourself a small – really small drawing pad and take yourself to some place new and write down everything you notice in bullet point form and watch the ideas spring.
3. Plan Ahead – Encourage a culture of imagination and innovation by planting some seeds while lying in bed getting ready to sleep. Suggest to your relaxed, getting ready to sleep mind to get creative tomorrow. Suggest to your getting ready to sleep mind to feel free to play and imagine whilst you sleep and to go ahead and to dream. You might even wake earlier than usual, feeling refreshed and ready for what ever amazing idea comes your way.
Tip – Keep a dream journal by your bedside. If you do happen to wake during the night then you will be ready to jot down the clues that your dreaming state has for you.
4. Call on the Muse – literally on your phone! Grab images from Pinterest or online or better still take your own photos – make them arty – zoom in, crop them in odd ways, shoot randomly from the hip – just go for it. Make this image your screen saver on the phone. You can also download an app that allows you to add text to your photos – so go ahead and add a word or a quote so that each time you look at your phone you will be reminded to be creative.
Tip – Call on the muse weekly or daily – change the image, change the words. We need to be reminded that we love art and we love to create. Setting a new image on your screen saver daily will visually remind you that creativity lives in everything we do.
5. Spice It Up a Notch – Get ready to collaborate! Try a guided class with your work colleagues to make the experience of unleashing your creativity even more enjoyable. Have a laugh and spice things up a bit. You will experience creative moments that you wouldn’t normally.
Tip – Laughing at our creative endeavours in the presence of others will help break the stranglehold that inner monologue has on our ability to be playful and to make for no particular reason.
6. A Watched Pot Never Boils – If you’re stuck in the mud, stop waiting for inspiration to hit you like a tonne of bricks and do something else instead. This might be a small chore around the house or meditation. Once your mind settles down, it will wander off and start generating imaginative ideas. Once this happens, grab a pen and jot it down before you forget!
Tip – This step is one of the most common mistakes we make as creative beings. Know this. Movement is Chi – life force. Sitting and waiting amplifies stagnancy – go move and when you do make it something repetitive and boring even – then watch what happens – I guarantee you sparks will be flying.
7. Be a Kid – Kids don’t worry about being original, social guidelines, or creative restrictions. They allow randomness, scribble what first comes to them, and often surprise even us with the things that they end up building or drawing. Take a page out of their book and think in, outside, and around the box. Do first. Think later.
Tip – Go on. Play with kids and learn! Or at least watch them play and learn.
8. Better Done Than Perfect – The aim for perfectionism can be a great motivation in a workplace, but does it truly exist when it comes to creativity? Take the pressure off and let your creative side develop naturally. Play some music in the background and let out what ever comes your way.
Tip – Perfectionism is another word for paralysis. Someone said that once but I cant remember who.