7 ways to stay creative
Updated 14th August 2018
I want to talk to you about creativity, about how to stay creatively inspired, how to stay creative and motivated at home and staying creative at work.
What is creativity?
Creativity is defined as the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. It requires two processes, thinking and then producing. If you have an idea but don’t act on it, you are imaginative but not creative.
There are many ways to be creative, here are seven to keep you going:
1. Be mindful
Being busy is an every day occurrence for most of us. Sometimes you can get too busy and become stressed, which is not healthy or productive and helps no-one. When you can be mindful in the moment and step away from the daily madness, you can start to fuel your creativity. If you can stop what you're doing and listen to music, take a walk, or do whatever makes you feel calm, this will reduce your stress and allow you to think beyond the daily grind. This helps let creativity have more prominence in your mind than it would have had otherwise.
I have a great view out of my office window and I like to sit and watch the sheep in the field beyond when my brain needs a break.
2. Know the rules, then break them
When you are being creative, it’s a good idea to know and understand what’s already out there so you know to act in a different way, or move in a different direction from existing ideas. If you immerse yourself in knowledge of what’s already been done, only then are you free to be truly creative and produce something new. Not only will you be more knowledgable about the art, design and maker community, but you’ll be in a position to see how you would do things differently. In the words of Pablo Picasso, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
3. Make a note
Creativity can strike in any location and at any time, and often at inconvenient moments. You could be walking the dog, shopping in the supermarket or driving the car. Anything can inspire a great idea, so it’s a good idea to jot down any ideas you have. That could be in a notebook, creativity journal or if you are more digitally inclined, you could use your Notes app on your phone like I do.
Many creative people carry a notebook to always have a way of making notes. This allows you to remember anything that pops into your head.
I have a specific ‘Creative Ideas’ folder in my Notes apps for just these occasions.
4. Never stop learning
Children ask questions all the time. In fact children at the age of five ask on average 120 questions a day! However, the older they get the fewer questions they ask until they reach adulthood where they only ask on average five questions a day. Adults, and especially creative professionals, need to embrace their inner toddler and ask more questions and seek out new knowledge. It’s a good idea to take some time out of your day to try and learn something new. Pay attention to questions other people might ask and collect questions you find interesting. Learning new things keeps your brain active and keeps you creative and inspired.
I like to watch science documentaries or read books on physics and I love learning about the big questions of the universe.
5. Go to the pub
Sounds daft, I know, but hear me out. The best time to be creative might not be when you think it is and so when you need to get your creative juices flowing, drinking lots of coffee to try and make you alert is not the best idea. Research has shown that a beer, or your favourite tipple, might be more helpful with creative thinking, whereas the coffee will help you when it comes to implementing your ideas.
My wife and I have some of our best creative thinking sessions in the pub.
6. Do something different
One of the best and most powerful fuels for creativity is discomfort, to upset the status quo. The easiest way to repeat the same work over and over is to continue doing the same thing over and over. It was Einstein who once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Attempting new problems or changing the way you do things will challenge your skills and fuel your creative thinking. When you know you need to be particularly creative, try taking a different route to work, listen to podcasts instead of music. This gets your brain out of a routine.
I like to take our dog on different walks each day to mix things up.
7. Do what Dali did
I love Salvador Dali and in the history of art he is unquestionably the father of Surrealism. Surrealism is the art of writing, drawing or painting unreal or unpredictable work from an imaginary world. It’s the use of subconscious imagery.
Dali was intrigued by images that occur at the boundary between sleeping and waking and he had a very specific way of conjuring up these images. He would place an old metallic plate on the floor and then sit in a chair next to it, holding a metal spoon over the plate. He would then relax his body and try to fall asleep. As soon as he started to nod off, the spoon would slip from his fingers, hit the plate with a loud bang and it would immediately wake him up where he would be ready to capture the surreal images.
Have a go yourself and let me know what happens in the comments below.
Creativity is an essential part of the world we live in and it’s only going to become more of an asset as complex technology becomes more readily available. Being creative means that you will have more opportunities to add value to your products and services and to do what you love.
Time to embrace your creativity!
Until next time...