To some, creativity is a gift, a rare anomaly that select others have, but not their perpetually left brain-reliant selves. Being creative is tough at times, even for the “creative set” of young professionals. Sometimes we “just aren’t in the mood,” or, like writer’s block, experience “creativity block.” Being creative and unique is increasingly difficult in our climate, after all, when it seems no idea is unique and it has all been done before. This is no excuse; some people who label themselves an “uncreative” never actually explore whether this is true. Here are a few tips that may help the process of kick-starting your inner creativity.
Write it Down, Spell it Out
Much like your teacher would do in grade school brainstorm sessions, write out specific words or ideas and branch out from there by writing out related subthemes and ideas. It is always beneficial to start with larger themes or headings when attempting to brainstorm and tap into a creative thought process. Having the words and ideas visually spelled out in front of you keeps your thought process on track, with the creation of lists under defined headlines helping organize the web of tangled thoughts.
Stop Trying So Hard
Difficulties and frustration arise when you sit there and try to force ideas out. Usually inspirations (much like discovering an intriguing new romantic interest) can come out of nowhere when you are not trying – while driving up north for the weekend, on your walk to work or even when relaxing poolside. The key is to keep your mind open to ideas and inspirations at all times, recognize them and make mental notes of them.
Perform Mundane Tasks
Do the opposite of “trying too hard.” Organize your closet, do dishes or mop the floor – any mindless and menial task that will turn off the outside noise and allow your mind to wander. When you don’t let disruptions or your own worries or thoughts consume your mind, it opens up your subconscious, allowing new ideas in.
Think Out Loud and Brainstorm With Others
Feed off of the ideas and creative energy of others. In the same manner as discussed above, identify central themes and key words and work outward from there. Take a question, theme or idea that’s central to your task at hand and, with little restrictions, collectively rattle off as many answers, associations and connections as you can. A word or idea someone else has can inspire a new idea in your mind and vice versa. Most importantly, don’t overthink it or be self-conscious – the responses should be spontaneous and uncalculated, allowing your subconscious to take the lead. Once a brainstorm session gains momentum, inhibitions quickly fade.
Stay In Touch and on Top of It
It is said that good writers are those who read a lot. Much is the same for creative thinking. Stay in touch with what others are doing both in your city and around the world. Read the news and magazines alike, and stay informed of current events and pop culture. This way, you’ll know what’s out there, what’s been done before and whether your “brilliant idea” is really that unique after all. Furthermore, you will gain creative inspiration from pre-existing ideas that will push you go to further in tapping your own inner creative genius.
Your mood affects your level of creativity. If you are feeling anxious, irritated or tired, this is going to affect the way your mind works. Being relaxed, happy and positive can foster new ideas. Do what you need to achieve this inner peace and happiness – whether you watch a funny video clip, listen to music, hit the gym or yoga studio, or take a long shower.