Creativity is a very messy affair.
There is this beautiful notion that it just ‘comes’ out of nowhere and plants itself in our brains when we least expect it.
It’s a bit of silly notion, isn’t it?
Any professional creative will tell you this isn’t the case.
It’s damn hard work, but more than anything. . . it’s showing up.
There are ways to ‘show up’ for creativity, ways in which you can help push the needle in the right direction.
Here are some of our favorites:
1. Acknowledge that you can't always be creative
Have you ever heard of the 'ten years of silence' theory? There was a study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University by a cognitive psychology professor named John Hayes. He studied some 500 odd creative geniuses and quickly noticed a bizarre correlation.
Almost all of these geniuses had created their BEST masterpieces after 10 years of working in their field.
It doesn’t matter what field you are in—creativity is not something you were born with. It is something that was sown and reaped into fruition.
When you realize that some of your most creative moments were a result of hard work done in the past, you give yourself permission to just show up. It’s ok if you produce a load of junk because you did your part, and no doubt, this 'junk production' was still a learning experience.
2. Keep a notebook, and mind map in it often
People like to keep an assortment of lists in their notebooks. It's how they get stuff done. That being said, lists operate from the analytical side of our brains.
Mind maps, on the other hand, operate from the creative side of our brains and are used more to link concepts together.
It’s particularly useful as a way to solve problems.
By making the problem the center, you can trace a thread all the way to the solution.
For example, when battling writer’s block, a mind map would force you to see the big picture first, and then let you connect the dots after.
3. Expand your curiosity
When it comes to creativity, nothing comes out of a vacuum.
Every single brilliant idea we’ve ever had is a combination of some concepts or experiences we've had in the past. That’s why it’s so beneficial to expose yourself to industries, passions, and ideas that you normally wouldn’t.
If you find yourself in the marketing world, maybe it’s time to take a painting class. If you’re a designer, maybe you should learn how to write. If you are ALWAYS looking at cat videos, maybe. . .nah, nevermind.
You can ALWAYS look at cat videos.
Have you ever tried going for a run when you find yourself in a creative block? I get some of my best ideas when I go running.
Exercise acts as a ‘cognitive enhancer,’ and it also forces you to breathe and focus on something else.The next time you’re feeling stuck, go for a walk and give your brain permission to think about something else—or to not think at all.
5. Play a game
Activate the logical side of your brain, and let it do the work for a little bit. This frees up your creative brain to ruminate in the background.
And don’t worry, if the person you’re playing takes WAY too long on their turns. . . those moments of pure, impatient agony give your BEST creative ideas time to sprout into your little gray cells.
There’s no doubt that adult colouring has become a trendy and fun way to give your brain a break.
Many people are beginning to substitute it as a form of meditation. You can just zone out while colouring and be creative in a different way. And with colouring, there is no pressure to come up with the actual subject of your art since it already gives you a bit of framework. Colouring can allow your brain to find its inner zen.
For a FREE colouring page to try this out, click here, and sign up for our email list. We’ll send you a beautiful page that you can zone out to from our very own travel colouring book .
Seriously, it's awesome. Check it out.
A good, healthy collaboration will always make a creative process better.
If you’re working with someone who is essentially a carbon copy of you, you might as well be working alone. Collaborating with people of different backgrounds and experiences forces you to see things in a new light.
It's also a beautiful way to connect with human beings. Together you can all look at a collective masterpiece and think, "Wow, I was a part of that."