Creativity is our imagination and the original ideas that often refer to artistic work like writing, painting or theater. But creativity is not limited to what we might consider “art” and there are so many ways to be creative in every part of life. Creativity is important because it pushes us out of our comfort zone and encourages us to try new things. It means not following the same lines and paths that our society and culture around us have told us are “right” or “good” but truly channeling original ideas from within ourselves.
Some people consider themselves to be “creative types” and there are even astrological signs that personify people born during certain times of the year to be more creative than others. But creativity lies within all of us and sometimes it just takes a little willingness and acceptance to let our creativity shine.
If you’re feeling in a creative rut or just looking to expand your creativity, here are some tips to get inspired and help get the creative juices flowing.
How to Be More Creative
As a writer, I find journaling to be the best way for me to get my creative juices flowing. We hold so much in our minds. Putting it all down on paper can both allow us to feel lighter, and more open and available to receiving fresh imaginative and original ideas and inspiration. Journaling can also help us discover things we didn’t even know we had inside of us. As you begin to write and let your pencil move to paper unexpected things will arise that we may have missed in the business of life. Giving our minds the space and time to process these ideas is so important to opening those creative outlets. We like these journaling prompts from Wit & Delight.
Clear the clutter.
This can be interpreted both literally and figuratively. When we have clutter in our lives we struggle to think straight and can often begin to feel stuck in our professional and personal lives. By clearing this clutter we make room to see what’s underneath. You can start by cleaning your house. Develop organizational systems that make it easier to keep things organized and clean. Invest in some bins and label them and donate and get rid of old unused items. This will help you focus on your thoughts and ideas and not be sucked into the stress and overwhelming feeling that a mess can bring.
Once your house is clean, bring your focus back to your mind. I recently mentioned Morning Pages in my post about Slowing Down in a World that Moves Fast and I stand by this process. This is the best way to clear out the clutter in your mind and get to the good stuff underneath.
Take a break.
When we push something too far without giving our mind and body a break we only make things worse. Give yourself a break every couple of hours to ensure you don’t burn out and take away from that creative mindset. Creativity needs space and time to grow and flourish. Tend to it like a garden.
Try something new.
Trying something new is one of the best ways to open up to your creativity. Don’t underestimate yourself either. I have never considered myself to be artistic with painting or drawing, but when I recently started doing Paint by Numbers (I know not even close to the same as an actual painting) I found it to be such a creative and relaxing activity. Try a paint and sip class with some friends or sign up for a pottery class. Do something a little bit out of your comfort zone. Maybe something you’ve always wanted to try. Don’t let any stories you’ve created about not being good enough or not knowing enough hold you back. What’s the worst that can happen? Better yet, what’s the best? You got this!
Take a quiet walk.
We often go on walks and immediately plug into a podcast, audible or music. Don’t get me wrong, I love walking and listening. But try to give yourself quiet walk time occasionally as well. We don’t often unplug from technology and getting outside is such a wonderful setting. With this extended time walking and tuning into your senses, notice the thoughts that arise and see where it takes you.
Write or read poetry.
Poetry is a lovely way to inspire creativity. Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer or poet, give it a try. You might surprise yourself. Find a special spot outside or inside that fuels you and makes you feel alive. Consider your senses– what do you see, hear, feel, smell, taste? Allow your thoughts to run along the page without judgement or overthinking it. One of the best things about poetry is that there aren’t really any rules! Just write and see what happens. If writing poetry isn’t your thing try reading it. I love that so few words in a poem can spark so many thoughts, interpretations and ideas. Maybe share a poem with a friend and discuss it together. It’s always interesting to see how others interpret things differently and learn from these fresh ideas.
See something new.
Our creativity starts to suffer when we stay in the same place and do the same things day after day. A mundane life certainly does not spark creativity. A way to get your creativity moving again is to see something new. This doesn’t mean you need to take a big trip, although that’s nice too. You could visit a nearby town you’ve never been. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone a bit and you will be pleasantly surprised by all of the exciting new thoughts and ideas that arise.
Have a creative meeting with friends or colleagues.
Sometimes we just get stuck in our own head and cannot get out of our own way. One of the best ways to get out of one of these ruts is to throw ideas around with someone you admire, trust and value ideas from. We often want to do everything ourselves but when we join forces with someone else we can merge ideas to make them even more amazing.
Find your inner child.
Children are so creative because they are still so open and have not yet fallen victim to all the pressures and expectations of the world. They are carefree and accepting of the world around them. This allows them to accept and share all the creativity that comes their way without fear of judgement or failing. It is such a beautiful thing. Nurture your inner child and see what you might find about yourself.
Move your body.
Exercise (in whatever way you choose) is one of the best ways to release the creativity within us. Although it is hard to pin down exactly how and why, movement in general has been shown to improve people’s imagination, inventiveness and ability to develop new ideas.
Listen to music.
Music is said to spark creativity and increase productivity. Everyone has their own preference whether it is classical, easy-listening or folk. Pick a playlist that inspires you! This article from Berkley outlines How Music Helps Us Be More Creative.