Whether you are a professional dog-walker, accountant, teacher, or nurse, the benefits of exploring and expanding one’s creative energies is a worthy pursuit. Creativity is often a term associated with lofty and unreachable aspirations. This idea that it takes a special side of the brain and a natural-born talent to be creative garners fear. While there may be people who are naturally creative, the trait itself is innately human. People may scoff at this notion because as a society we have created a mythical ideal of creativity around chosen ones who get to have it and be praised for it. The truth is, being creative is hard. People don’t like things that are hard, they tend to do things that are easy and comfortable. The idea of being creative is intimidating when the range of what this skill can bring is called to mind. The images of great masterpieces of all types of mediums flash through the mind’s eye, which have enriched the eyes of humanity. But, the small wonders such as, a post-it note or paperclip are just as monumental and full of beauty in their own way. Creativity demands problem-solving at a higher, more open field where ideas are allowed to be bad or nonsensical. The question is, how does one get to that open field?
How To Develop Your Innate Creativity
1. Play Around
To sharpen the creative sense one must choose something of interest to have fun with. There are endless options, some traditionally ‘creative’ pursuits such as painting, writing, or photography are called to mind. But there are also options such as cooking, journaling, scrapbooking, playing an instrument or wood-working. The idea is to do something you always wanted to do but never felt adequate enough or had enough time to consider. It only takes a small committed increment of time everyday to dedicate. If it feels strained to begin or the thought of the activity is draining, choose something else. Keep trying until there is an action that allows the logical side to take a back seat. Creativity wants an open mind, the activity is beside the point. As long as it is not an obligation. In Big Magic, her book about creative living, Elizabeth Gilbert says, “Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”
2. Keep a Notebook
Get a small, portable notebook and start making lists. Instead of pulling out the phone while you are standing in line waiting or during any interlude when the phone comes out, take out a pen instead. The lists can be about anything; books to read, movies to see, songs you like. Or people from 5th grade, words that begin with ‘G’, favorite cars or favorite paintings. Overthinking is not useful, just list. Austin Kleon, writer of Steal Like an Artist, recommends a swipe file. This can mean taking almost anything, from images torn from magazines to quotes, and stashing them in a file. Doodle in your notebook, scribble and let the pen on paper slow down your busy phone fingers.
3. Develop and Keep a Routine (be boring)
All creatives who have reached some amount of success will give testament to some kind of routine. Back to common misconceptions that creative prowess must be struck down from some muse; all artists will speak to a daily practice. Gretchen Rubin author of the best-selling, The Happiness Project, says, “Progress is reassuring and inspiriting, panic and anxiety set in when you find yourself doing nothing day after day.” Small increments build up over time into something substantial Keeping a daily habit of your artistic pursuit will have its dividends, in more ways than one. It becomes less daunting to take the pressure off of you set a timer for 30 minutes and write, paint, journal, or make mind maps of ideas. At the end of the week, or month the collective work can be the start of something great or lead to an idea that didn’t exist before.
Being creative may not be a part of your job description but creative pursuits sharpen all of the senses that contribute to a richer life. An open mind that explores ideas, questions the world and is curious about things is a mind that will create. Playing around and giving the mind a a break from expectations usually reaps huge benefits for the imagination.