Have you ever wondered how to be more creative? Are you convinced that you’re just not the “creative type”? Do you feel like creativity is something you weren't born with – and you’re somehow missing that gene?
Well, I have good news for you!
Just like any other trait or behavior, creativity is something that can be practiced and learned over time. P-R-O-M-I-S-E!
This post will give you a bunch of ideas and strategies you can implement over the coming weeks to build your creativity “muscles” and uncover your BEST ideas! The strategies below are easy to implement, but they DO require you to carve some time out of your busy schedule and make becoming creative a priority!
1. Give Yourself Time and Space
As with many new skills, it’s important to give yourself the physical and mental space to actually practice how to be more creative.
If you’re working a 9-5 (or longer!) job, running the kids to and from practices every night, or working on the minutiae of your business every waking moment, you’ll never have the time to become more creative. Set aside at least 30 minutes a day and just be “still” and see what free thoughts come to mind. The crazy lives we lead don't often afford us down time UNLESS we make the time! #justsayin
2. Brainstorm Without Judgment
Once you’ve managed to set aside some time, pull out a notebook or your computer and get ready to move all your ideas out of your head and onto paper (or word processing doc)!
What ideas, you may be wondering?
While you may feel like you have nothing important going on up there, you might be surprised what happens when you give yourself time and permission to explore the possibilities!
3. Manage Your Distractions
I love this quote “You can’t do big things if you’re distracted by small things.” (source unknown).❤ “You can’t do big things if you’re distracted by small things.” (source unknown) #BizTipClick To Tweet
If you want your creativity to blossom, you’ll need to minimize distractions – especially those of the electronic kind. This means turning off Facebook, aka Crackbook <grin>!
While email and social media can be powerful tools for communication and learning, they can also hinder your efforts to discover how to be more creative.
So, when you’re working on any of the strategies in this post, try turning off all notifications and putting your phone aside. If you need some extra help to stay offline, you can even use a distraction-minimizing app like Freedom!
4. Take an Online Course
Have an interest in a particular topic that you want to explore? Sites like Udemy offer thousands of low-cost courses you can take anytime, anywhere.
It really doesn’t matter what type of course you take…what matters is you’re branching out, learning new things and opening your mind to new ideas and possibilities.
You can even take a course on how to become more creative if you want!
Not everyone is going to be a great artist, and that’s ok.
But there’s something about drawing – and even just doodling – that can get your creative juices flowing.
Grab a pad of blank paper, sit down in a quiet spot, and take 5-10 minutes just to doodle. Draw whatever comes to mind, and try not to judge the quality of your drawings!
I have even been known to use post it's to write down big ideas and then put them on my wall beside my desk so that they are always top of mind.
The goal ISN’T to become the next Rembrandt…it’s to unlock and exercise the creative side of your brain!
6. Keep an Idea File
When you start trying to learn how to be more creative, don’t be surprised if new ideas come to you spontaneously – in the carpool line-up, grocery store, or even at two in the morning.
Have an idea file with you at all times so that you can document ideas as they come to you, no matter where you are.? Have an idea file with you at all times so that you can document ideas as they come to you, no matter where you are. #BizTip #BrainstormClick To Tweet
This is why it’s so important to have an idea file with you at all times. Using an app like Evernote, you can add to your list from your phone or computer at any time. You can even use Notes on your phone!
7. Surround Yourself With Creative People
If you surround yourself with people who are content to just do the “same old, same old”, it will be MUCH harder for you to grow or develop your creativity.
Make a point of surrounding yourself with people who get excited about new ideas – business owners, artists, creatives, writers, web designers, etc.Make a point of surrounding yourself with people who get excited about new ideas!Click To Tweet
When people are excited about new ideas, projects or goals, this will tend to rub off on you, getting you excited about trying new things too.
8. Create a Mind Map
This can be a great activity to do as part of your brainstorming (see #2).
A mind map is simply a basic visual representation of your thoughts. You can use a free or cheap app like Bubbl.us or Mindomo to create your own mind map, or even just sketch it out on a piece of paper.
Start with writing down a main topic or theme that’s been on your heart or mind, and then just let your thoughts flow. Note down any related ideas, words or phrases that come to mind.
As you create space for yourself to let your thoughts flow, you may be surprised to see what themes or connections start to emerge!
9. Make Time for Exercise
We don’t normally think of physical activity when we think of how to be more creative. However, some experts are starting to believe that engaging in regular exercise may actually boost your creativity.
Make time for regular exercise. Some experts are starting to believe that engaging in regular exercise may actually boost your creativity! Personally, I find that anytime I can disconnect from a device, my creativity takes a spike. Try it!?♀️ Make time for regular exercise. ? Some experts are starting to believe that engaging in regular exercise may actually boost your creativity. #BoostingCreativityClick To Tweet
At the very least, we know that exercise helps reduce stress and clear the mind…both of which definitely improve our chances of coming up with new thoughts and ideas.
10. Identify Your Blocks
To succeed at anything, it’s important to first think about what thoughts, ideas or beliefs may be holding you back.
For instance, do you find yourself thinking things like, “I’m just not a creative person”, or “Becoming creative shouldn’t be a priority for me”?
Take some time to think about how you think about creativity. Challenge your assumptions and negative thoughts about it, and engage in some positive self-talk to set yourself up for success.
11. Read More
There’s a reason why many of the world’s most successful people (like Warren Buffett and Elon Musk) are voracious readers – reading opens your mind to new ideas and possibilities.
Make a point of reading a wide variety of content – from books, to magazines, to journals to blog posts. Don’t limit yourself to one type of material…you never know where great ideas will come from!
12. Learn a New Hobby
You may not think of yourself as a creative person, but is there some artsy or creative skill or activity you’ve always wanted to learn?
Some ideas: learning to play an instrument, taking an art class, learning how to knit, taking a few singing lessons, learning graphic design, etc.
If so, there’s no better time than now! Exercising your creativity in this way could be just the impetus you need to start uncovering your best ideas.
13. Try Your Hand at Writing Fiction
You may be a terrible writer – and that’s totally okay! But writing fiction (whether it’s good or not) can be a great way to start becoming more creative.
For best results, choose a topic you know little about or have little experience with. If you don't like sitting down to write or type, use a voice recorder to get the thoughts out of your brain and into another medium. You’ll be forcing your brain to learn and grow well beyond its usual boundaries!
14. Spend Some Time With Kids
Who’s better at coming up with crazy and outside-of-the-box ideas than kids?!
Spend some time playing with your kids (or borrow someone else’s) and do whatever it is they want to do. You’ll start to notice how kids come up with ideas at the drop of a hat, and attach absolutely no judgment to those ideas.
Through this process of simply acting on whatever comes to their minds, they’re constantly exercising their creativity…without even realizing it!
15. Spend Time in Quiet
For many of us, 99% of our days are filled with noise, distractions, people and activities. This leaves little to no time for quiet contemplation or meditation…and this can seriously hinder one’s attempts to become more creative.
I find some of my BEST ideas emerge when I’m by myself, doing pretty much nothing. Try going for a walk (with no music and your phone’s notifications off) and just…walk. Or sit on your couch (with the TV and computer off), and just…think. I normally try to do this first thing in the morning so that I am fresh and the house is super quiet.
You may be surprised at the thoughts and ideas that come to mind when nothing else is vying for your attention!
If you’ve been telling yourself you’re just not a creative person…STOP!
This type of negative self-talk will become a self-fulfilling prophecy…meaning despite your best efforts, you’ll probably never develop your creativity!
Remind yourself that creativity can be a learned skill, and then schedule in some time in the coming weeks to try out the strategies above.