Do you wish you were more creative? Like so many other people, I often gaze in awe at artists, sculptors and designers and wish I had talent like that to create something beautiful out of a simple idea in my head. But I would always look at the masterpiece they’d created and know I don’t have the imagination or skill to ever be able to produce anything like it.
Recently, however, I came to a realisation: I am creative! Sure, I might not be painting works to rival the Mona Lisa, but I am creative in my own way, and I’m going to let you in on a few secrets and tips to help you discover and grow your own creativity.
First, it’s important to clarify what we’re talking about here. What do we mean by creativity? When people consider creativity, they often think of art: drawing, painting, pottery, jewellery making – creating something pretty that probably isn’t very useful or necessary. When in actual fact, creativity is your brain exploring new ways of thinking, new ideas and concepts and bringing them into reality. It’s innovation, it’s problem solving, it’s imagination, and it can really change your life.
Being creative comes naturally – I’m sure you already use your creativity without realising it – but when you practice and develop creative thinking, your capacity for creativity grows and expands the possibilities of your mind beyond anything you thought possible before. There are so many ways to boost your creativity, and different people may prefer different ways of being creative – artistic, lingual, practical, inventive. The suggestions below are just a few methods you could try, but the sky is the limit; as long as the activity engages your mind and encourages you to consider new possibilities, ideas or concepts, it will help you to become a more creative person.
Writing is a wonderful way to let your creativity flow. Create new characters or places and describe them, write a story or play or simply write down your feelings. The beauty of writing is you can commit as much time as you want: you could start a daily journal, writing down your thoughts every day, or you could just commit to one minute tasks, eg. write down 50 things that are red.
Did you know over 40 different areas of your brain work together when you are thinking creatively? Your brain can be more active if you’ve had a good night sleep, so aim to get 8 hours sleep every night.
Listen to new music
Familiar music can be soothing and enjoyable, but new music excites different parts of your brain, encouraging new thoughts and feelings. Try listening to new music and thinking about what household items you could use as instruments to play this song, or make up a counter melody or new drum beat.
If you’re more logically-minded and find it difficult to engage your imagination, doing puzzles may be a really helpful method to get your brain thinking quickly. See how fast you can complete a sudoku or wordsearch, or, if you’re especially good at puzzles, try creating your own puzzle or riddle for a friend to solve.
If you struggle with imagining things unprompted, reading is a great way to ease your brain into creativity without it realising! Try imagining, in detail, whatever your book is describing. Once you’ve got that image, try adding your own details that aren’t in the book, or think of the history behind the person or place, or even imagine yourself in the story, interacting with the characters.
Let your mind run wild! What is happening in New York at this very moment, what must it be like to live a day in the life of *insert person*, what would it be like to live on Mars? The possibilities of what you could imagine are endless – so just let your mind wander.
Freestyle what you’re good at
Rather than do something practiced or copy something done before, why not let yourself run free with your hobby? If you play an instrument, just jam for a while to see what you create; if you love drawing or painting, don’t start with a plan and see what your artistic talent creates; if you like writing, start writing a story of short sentences and see what crazy events happen to the main character.
How does an elephant’s trunk work? Why do birds sing? If you could only have one meal a day, when would be the best time to have it? There are so many endless questions you can ask – they don’t even have to have answers! Come up with as many possible answers as you can (and of course you’ll have to google the proper answer afterwards if you’re anything like me!). This is also a great activity to do with a friend, see what creative answers they come up with!
Change your surroundings
Changing something to do with your environment is sometimes really important in allowing your brain to be creative. It may be something as simple as organising your desk or clearing the clutter that keeps distracting you, or it may involve moving into a new space, maybe going outdoors to give your mind new features to focus on.
Think about new ways
All you need for creativity is your own brain. How many different uses can you think of for a paper clip? Think about how you would explain something, for example, how a washing machine works – then, consider different ways of explaining it, maybe using drawings or acting it out.
You may feel like an idiot sitting there trying to come up with ways of using a piece of string. If so, then choose a different method of exercising creativity. Everyone’s mind works differently and maybe that just isn’t the way that you express being creative. Try different things out and set aside time every day to work on it – creativity doesn’t just appear magically, you will have to commit to developing it, but it will be really worth it!
Let me know what you think about creativity and what you find to be the best way to express your creativity in the comments below.