How to Be Creative – Your Guide to Being Creative
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A lot of people say that they are not at all creative, and others might think of creatives as being somewhat peculiar. However, you cannot label creativity and place it in a box, which is why everyone can be creative, no matter what age. Some might simply find it easier to be more creative than others. So, are there ways to be creative? Finding your creativity does not have to be difficult, let us take a look at some of the easier ways to be more creative.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is the Meaning of Creativity?
- 2 How to Find Your Creativity
- 2.1 Simple Creative Exercises
- 2.2 More Interesting Ways to Improve Creativity
- 2.3 Lifestyle Changes to Boost Creativity
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Meaning of Creativity?
Before we begin looking into how to be creative, let us first learn what the definition of creativity is. How does one define creativity? Creativity can be explained as something a person creates that is unique and original, using various skills and talents. It can be seen as new ways of taking an idea and then bringing those ideas into reality.
Just like there are various personality types, there are different creative types. Humans are multifaceted, and we cannot all be placed into a single box or category. We are not going to go too much into this topic now, but we are going to quickly mention the various creative types below.
According to Arne Dietrich (2004), a well-known psychology professor, there are four main types of creativity. Creativity is related to being either conscious and intellectual or cognitive decisions or can be achieved emotionally. Creativity can also be something deliberate or it can be spontaneous.
- Cognitive and deliberate: This type of creative thinking is done on purpose and usually involves some work over some time.
- Deliberate and Emotional: When you need some time to think about something, but instead of using knowledge and skills, emotional creativity is activated. Some would call this an “a-ha” type of moment.
- Spontaneous and Emotional: When the conscious mind is at rest, and you simply go with the flow as some artists do.
- Spontaneous and Cognitive: Moments where you are busy with something but seem stuck and cannot move forward. You take a break and from seemingly nowhere, you come up with a solution.
Of course, the whole process is a lot more involved, but you can see how creativity can be a little more complex than at first glance. Ultimately, you can view creativity as being something that requires a measure of talent and skill, but it can also be something you can learn.
Next, let us move on to some ideas of how to get creative.
How to Find Your Creativity
Many people have raw talent when it comes to creativity that involves things like painting, drawing, or dancing. However, they still need to practice and learn to improve on their creativity, which is where everyone else has the opportunity to also grow and learn. You do have ways to be creative and most of them are quite simple exercises. For example, reading, listening to music, or exercising regularly can help you with being creative. Below are a few more ideas on how to find your creativity.
Simple Creative Exercises
How to be creative? You do have a variety of exercises you can do to help you with creativity, and they also help you to relax. Doodling has a way to release our subconscious as we draw or doodle without any structure or purpose involved. Since there is no pressure to produce anything and your mind is at rest, which provides an opportunity for other ideas to come to the surface. Doodling has many other benefits as well including helping to improve memory, processing emotions, and helping to learn more efficiently. You can try to keep a sketchbook handy, so when you feel stressed or even bored, you can doodle away.
Besides doodling with pen and paper, you can also paint, create collages, or even go outside to draw in the sand. Below you will find more exercises you can try.
When making something with your hands, you always have a feeling of accomplishment once your project is finished. Crafting or doing activities like sewing, candle making, calligraphy, cooking, or any other craft, can help to improve creativity. Simply doing something creative and easy, is a way to get the brain active and inspired. If you are stuck on ideas, you can simply start by coloring. There are many printouts or books you can purchase. You can experiment with colored pencils or pens and just have fun. The point is not to focus too much on results, but to have fun with the process.
Reading can help you be more creative. There are many fictional as well as non-fiction books available. Within the fiction category, there are many other types of books from mystery to science fiction and fantasy. You also do not have to sit for hours, simply read a few minutes every day.
You could also join a book club or become a member of a library.
Writing flash fiction or short stories means you only need about 100 hundred words. You will need to come up with a beginning, a middle as well an end of a story with only a limited number of words. You can join online communities that involve flash fiction, where you get to share your work with others as well. This exercise can help you to learn how to focus on what is important and to represent complex ideas in a few words.
The Circle Test
This is similar to doodling; however, you are required to draw 30 circles and from these circles create different drawings. To keep things interesting, you must do the challenge in about one minute. This exercise can be done, again and again, so you can see if you can break your own record. The idea is to come up with multiple ideas in a short space of time and is a way to boost creativity.
You can also print out the 30 circles to save some time.
How to Get Creative Listening to Music
When working, many like to listen to music. This can help to boost overall concentration and works best while listening to classical music. Singing and any music with words may be more disturbing than other choices. However, be it classical, contemporary, or jazz, you should find whatever works for you.
There are some quite complex games you can play, and many of them are interactive and can help with building creativity and improving problem-solving skills among other benefits. You can solve puzzles, or even find games which you can dance to or play tennis with. However, it is best to avoid any games that take up too much of your time and you land up sitting for too long.
So, it is about choosing wisely for this category.
Allow Yourself to Daydream
Daydreaming can be a way to plan, learn and try to understand the world around us. How do you feel when you daydream? It should come naturally, and you should be free to think about anything and go anywhere in your mind. It is said that daydreaming is a good way to improve problem-solving skills and is a way to be more creative and bring about new ideas.
Most times, daydreaming comes naturally when we are not busy, for example, when going for walk. Daydreaming should be something positive, so you should not be focused on worries and other negative thoughts. You could set some time aside each day to purposefully daydream. This can be done by finding a quiet spot, where you can just relax or do an easy activity like knitting or take the time when gardening. Let your mind and ideas flow, and again, you can write your ideas down.
How to Be Creative Using Commute Time
Many drive to work, while others take public transport. This can be stressful, and you might be tempted to take a nap on the train. However, you can use this time to listen to something like a thought-provoking podcast. If you are not driving in, you can read a book or write things down. You can even do people watching and come up with various stories for each person.
There are quite a few ways to make this time count, instead of simply letting it go by.
You can become more creative by being more observant and mindful. Try to notice things around you more and do not form preconceived ideas about people you just met. The idea is to be curious and open-minded, without stereotyping people. Keep curiosity alive and open yourself to new opportunities, discover new things, which can all spark creativity and develop the imagination.
Children are always curious, wanting to find out about everything around them. However, like many things, this can grow less as we get older. You can stimulate curiosity by simply asking the question why? You can also do simple things, for example, if you come across an unknown name or word, go and find out who or what the word means. Do not allow disappointments to dampen your mood or problems and accidents to annoy you. Sometimes, accidents can be a solution to something else altogether. A well-known example is the discovery and invention of penicillin.
Cleaning and Organizing
Maybe you are not too keen on organizing or cleaning, however, once you get into it and finish a task, it does feel good. Organizing a space can be a way for your mind to relax, and to help you focus on other ideas or just to let your mind wander. For some, too much clutter or stuff lying around can be a hindrance to creativity. The correct amount of clutter can be helpful for creative purposes.
However, this differs from person to person, so you will have to find out what works for you.
More Interesting Ways to Improve Creativity
If you want to get good at something, you need to learn more about the subject. So, if you want to learn how to paint, you might want to consider going on a course or reading books and watching videos on the subject. Get inspiration from others, for example, visit an art gallery or go to a museum. Here are more ideas for you to consider.
Get in Touch With Your Inner Child
Something as simple as becoming more child-like can help to nurture creativity. Having children makes this a little easier. Spend some time with them, play with Legos, build a puzzle together, or participate in an imaginary tea-time arty. Otherwise, you can simply dance to music, color in a picture, or simply laugh.
Playing helps your mind relax so your subconscious can work, which is why everyone needs some time off from work.
More creative people tend to be more open to diverse experiences. Do not allow fear to prevent you from trying different things. Not only can this help you be more creative, but it can also help improve confidence and keeps your mind active.
New experiences help to cultivate new ideas, and it is said that those who make an effort to experience new things live healthier and happier lives. You could also try a new class in something you do not know anything about. This can help to challenge and stimulate creative ideas. You can also consider taking photos or journaling your experiences, so these can become an inspiration for the future.
There are many different creative courses you can take from art to music lessons or photography and lots more. These all have different ways of approaching problems, and this can then be applied to other areas of your work. Traveling and experiencing new tastes, sights, and smells can also stimulate the mind. Experiencing other cultures can also be a wonderful way to see how others live and gain a different perspective on things.
Prompt New Ideas
You can help yourself think up new ideas by following prompts. For example, some games or challenges involve word association. You or someone comes up with a word and then you must come up with other words that connect with it.
Many writing and art challenges involve this type of idea, where there is a prompt list of words and artists must then draw anything associated with these words.
When learning something new, it can be beneficial to share your ideas. This can help you to retain a lot more of the information and you can also maybe generate even more creative ideas. You can either explain it to someone else like a family member or even a colleague or use your imagination to go over something in your head. You can even create a video that you can post online.
Take Time to Brainstorm
Creativity can sometimes occur spontaneously, but in many cases, it takes some time to develop. So, to help with being creative, take some time out each day to brainstorm or just think about things. You can visit a quiet place, where your mind can wander freely without interruption. Remember to write all your thoughts and feelings down in a notebook, this is where journaling comes into play.
It does not have to necessarily be about brainstorming a specific idea, it can just be to disengage and get away from all distractions.
Form a Creativity Network
Working by yourself can become boring, so becoming part of a group or network of like-minded people can be rewarding. You can find inspiration from them and learn new things, while they can also learn from you or provide advice to improve your own ideas.
When trying to come up with ideas, try to write as many as you can down. The ideas can be anything, both good and bad, or even silly. Once you have all these ideas down, you can go through them, and you may just find the one idea you need, and then you can refine it. This helps so that you do not overthink each idea as you go, eventually only coming up with one or two ideas that are not even good ones.
Another way to be creative using this technique is to ask a lot of questions. Rather look at it from all angles, until you come up with a more accurate question. To achieve this, you already have a question. You then take this same question and ask 10 more variations of the question. You might find a much better idea than your original one by doing this.
Another way to generate new ideas is to take something you have made or an idea and use it or come up with ideas that are opposite to the original intention. This can help you to consider new angles and different ideas. You can use some of the ideas below to help.
- Take some common items and see how many ways you can use them. For example, how many ways can a paper clip be used? Give yourself a time limit to produce as many suggestions as possible.
- You can try to use free word associations to generate new words. To make it more challenging, you can try and come up with a different association for each new word. For example, take the word “mud” and maybe someone comes up with “stick” as in “stick in the mud”.
- As mentioned before, journaling can play a role in being creative. You can set a time every day to freely write down any ideas or thoughts that come to mind.
Another technique that helps with the forming of new ideas is to fuse different ideas. Bring together things that are not normally related. As an example, you can try writing a story that is based on three words. On one side you have three words related to each other, for example, food, eat, and stomach. It is fairly simple to form a story around these words. On the other hand, you can have three completely unrelated words, for example, shoe, earth, and cat.
Which one of these do you think will have more creative ideas and stories?
Learn a New Language
Being taught another language is not easy, especially if you are older. However, learning a new language can help to stimulate the mind and can help you see things a little differently. It can expose you to new cultures and ways of thinking. Therefore, it can help you to come up with more creative ideas because you are being exposed to different and original ways of thinking.
Avoid Seeking Perfection
When trying to be creative, are you also trying to create something perfect? Perfection is something that you cannot reach, and it is something that can cause you to be stuck or unable to move forward. The underlying cause is not perfectionism in itself, it is the fear underneath that inhibits progress. We have all had that nagging thought in our minds that what we are doing is just not good enough.
The best thing to do is not to compare yourself to anyone else and whatever ideas you come up with, if you are happy with them, allow them to grow and develop and take their own shape.
Perfectionism only takes away; it does not allow you to grow naturally, and you may be forever unhappy with your achievements as you seek to fulfill unrealistic goals. However, the desire for excellence is not a bad thing as this can be seen as a simple belief that you can improve by putting in the effort. So, try to be true to yourself and put in the effort to achieve your goals, which should also be a great help for being more creative.
Lifestyle Changes to Boost Creativity
As with many things, you might require a change to get the creative juices flowing better. This means trying to get out there and socialize with different people, which can help you get a better perspective. Get involved with new pursuits and interests or go to events to broaden your horizons. Sometimes, this can be challenging, but well worth the effort in the long run.
Get Enough Sleep
Many of you will know how it feels if you do not get enough sleep. You feel sluggish and irritable, and it is not a good place to be in if you want to be productive and creative. You want to make sure you sleep enough, so you can feel rested and recharged.
Getting a good night’s sleep is also important for your brain and mind, as you process a lot of things while you sleep.
Exercising Is Important
Whether you walk, run, cycle, or go to the gym, exercising is important for a healthy body and mind. Not only that but engaging in exercise can help you to change your focus and maybe even help you to come up with new ideas. Getting moving improves blood flow to the brain and can bring more mental clarity and makes you feel good. Exercise can also be another way of socializing, or you can choose to have some alone time with your thoughts. There are also many unique and fun exercises you can do. For example, there is line dancing, trampoline exercises, archery, bungee classes, and horse riding. You do not have to stick to the conventional exercise methods but try to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.
Since you are exercising and sleeping properly, you should also be eating healthy foods. Food is what provides you with energy and can help to boost brain power, which then has a direct effect on creativity. A healthy diet that incorporates all the required nutrients is essential. So, make sure to get all your vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants in.
A little bit of ice cream or chocolate now and again can also help in their own way, just make sure not to overdo it, every good thing in moderation.
Limit Phone Time
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms can be a distraction, scrolling for five minutes can become 30 minutes too quickly. Even having to answer emails can take up a lot of time. So, first, you can limit your time on social media and maybe only go on at a certain during the day. This can help stop distractions and procrastinating during the rest of the day.
You could also do a type of detox, get away from all devices and the television. This is a way to help relax the mind, but if you do get bored, it is a way to stimulate the mind to find new ways to occupy the time. This is also a great time to simply let the mind wander without any distractions.
Take Breaks During a Work Day
Sometimes, you can struggle with a problem, and it seems that the harder you try to solve a problem, the further away a solution seems to be. Then, while taking a shower, or while driving, you suddenly come up with an idea. Taking breaks throughout the day can help your mind relax a little, but it can still be working on an idea without being overwhelmed with information. These can become one of those “eureka” moments.
The modern world can be extremely noisy, so from time to time, it is also a good idea to take a noise break.
Go somewhere quiet, take a walk where there are green open spaces and trees. You can also locate a spot to meditate in. You sometimes do not realize how noisy life is until you find yourself in a quiet place. No traffic or hooting cars, phones, people shouting, or the general hum of every day. Enjoy the moment of silence and allow your brain to work.
Laughing more has a lot of benefits and one of them is helping to improve creativity. Laughing can help to relax you, which can then help you to think more clearly and provide an opportunity for inspiration. Adults tend to lose this as they grow older and generally laugh under 20 times per day versus a couple of hundred times a day as a child. Having a sense of humor or an upbeat perspective on things can help you to see things differently.
Getting Closer to Nature
Getting closer to nature is said to help improve mood and has the added benefit of helping with creativity. You can take walks outside, however, there are also a few things you can do to bring nature indoors. Hang up photographs or paintings, bring in plants, and make sure there is plenty of natural light instead of glaring fluorescent lighting. Bring in more natural materials, for example, less use of plastic chairs and rather bring in items like wooden chairs.
We can all agree that creativity is something everyone has. Some may have a little talent involved, but overall, being creative is something we can learn and practice. Even if you have creative talent, you must nurture it. Some of the ways to be creative are simple, but many require effort and time to develop into something great.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Creativity a Learned Skill?
Many people have a talent for being creative, however, this is only a small part, and being creative can require a lot of hard work to hone any skills needed. So, yes you can learn to be more creative if you put the effort in.
Are There Techniques to Help Creativity?
There are many ways to be creative, some are simple like journaling, doodling, or coloring. Reading, listening to music, or simply daydreaming can be how to find your creativity. Other methods can be more challenging and require more effort, for example, learning a new language.
What Is the Importance of Creativity?
Yes, creativity is important for helping to solve complex problems and to be innovative in doing so. Without creativity, one can become closed-minded and dull. Creativity helps us broaden our perspective and allows us to see things differently. So, it is a way we can come up with new and inventive ideas, to learn and grow more effectively.