You are creative, even if you’ve failed to realize it. In fact, you can’t fail to create. You
created the life you’re living right now, even if you don’t appreciate it very much!
However, unless you’ve tried to maximize your creativity, you’ve only been operating
at half-throttle. It’s possible to be much more creative than you have been in the past.
Being able to access your imagination and then use it to find creative solutions will
make life easier, more enjoyable, and bring you greater fulfillment.
Enhance your ability to access your imagination with these strategies:
1. Practice without distractions. Turn off the TV and dim the lights. Have a seat
and close your eyes. Allow your mind to wander, but don’t fall asleep. Instead of
trying to steer your thoughts, let them run wild. Practice being an observer
instead of a director. Do this daily for 15-20 minutes.
Use all of your senses. You can do more than just see. You have the ability
to hear, feel, smell, and touch. Use all of these senses when you’re utilizing
your imagination. Your imagination will feel stronger if you use it daily. Try not to skip a day.
2. Read something outrageous (for you). Try reading a fictional book about aliens,
fire-breathing dragons, or time travel. Expose yourself to new ideas and
concepts. The more you experience, the more your imagination will have to
The same goes for movies. Branch out. You can only watch so many action
movies or romantic comedies!
3. Take up a creative hobby. Learn to paint, sculpture, or play the accordion. Try
writing a screenplay or drawing a monster. Use the creative part of your brain.
4. Explore your passions. Do something you’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t
yet. New mental states can increase your level of creativity.
Use your imagination to find creative solutions:
1. Set an intention. Think of an intention as a short-term goal for an activity. What
are you trying to accomplish with your imagination? Find a solution for your
relationship challenge? Figure out a way to earn more money? Invent a gadget
that will change the world? It’s important to have an objective for your imagination to focus on.
2. Choose a method of addressing your imagination: You can turn off the lights and focus on your intention. You could sleep on it. You could sit at a clean table with a pad of paper and write whatever comes to mind. Keep going for at least 30 minutes.
You could ask yourself questions and listen for the answers. Take part in an activity that engages your mind, but not completely. This can include activities like cleaning the house, taking a shower, mowing the lawn, or listening to classical music. These activities occupy part of your mind, but leave the remainder to create ideas.
3. Act on what you discover. Creative solutions are worthless unless you act
upon them. Reward yourself for being creative by putting your ideas into action.
Sort your ideas and choose the best one. Try and see if your imagination was
correct! You’ll get better with practice.
Our great creativity is one of the things that separates us from other forms of life.
Using your creativity effectively can help you to find better solutions to the
challenges in your life.
Creativity can fade with age, but that’s just because we fail to use it regularly.
Your ability to imagine is one way to address your creativity. Instead of mindlessly
staring out the window and daydreaming, you can direct your imagination to address
specific issues in your life.
One of the most popular creative blockbusters that you may hear about is a tool, made popular by Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way is the morning pages. As Julia defines it, the morning pages are “three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. “ The writing that is done here is not “high art” or publishable by any means…it is whatever comes to your head that you need or want to get out on paper, pen in hand. That’s right, it is not a typing or texting exercise…it is old school writing.
There are many people who use this as tool to unblock their creativity. For me it has been a tool that I have been using for a few years and it helps me to do a “mind dump” on everything that is going on in my daily world. Write everything from gratitude lists, poetry, funny things that happened during the day to venting out frustrations. Once I do this daily version of journaling, I begin the day a bit lighter and focused, especially as part of my morning ritual.
If you have been thinking of starting this practice, here is a few benefits that may encourage you to start earlier than later:
• There is No Wrong Way to Do the Morning Pages: Julia said so herself! It’s all about what comes out of your mind and on to the page. There is no writing structure or topic to follow. It is whatever is on your brain at the moment.
• The Morning Pages Clears the Fog of the Mind: For me, it is a wonderful brain dump….and at times I am surprised as to what appears on the page. There may be issues or thoughts latent in the brain that you don’t realize is in your subconscious. The morning pages allows you to get it out.
• The Morning Pages Helps You Discover Patterns of Thoughts or Concerns: You may be surprised that you are venting about similar issues or that a problem you thought you had now includes a solution in your writing. That is the magic of the process…when you identify patterns or find solutions, it helps clear the way for creativity.
• The Morning Pages Can Help You Think Through Creative Projects: New ideas often come as I write for artistic projects or for resources for my creativity coaching practice. I may write down an idea for workshop, or an art series and then expand on it. I may recall a detail from an Artist’s Date or an event I attended that I will write about which launches other ideas.
• The Morning Pages is a Healthy Way to Release Stress: If you have a habit of venting or complaining to your friends or family, a journaling practice of any kind is a healthy way to get it all out without losing friends and loved ones in the process. You can identify triggers, or crazymakers that may be getting in the way of your creativity.
Any journaling practice can have benefits to help you clear the mind and focus on your creative practice. Do you do the morning pages? What has been the benefits of this daily ritual for your creativity?
Okay, when you read that heading, you scratched your head and said, “yeah right, a DAILY practice? You are out of your mind.” We might be, but we bet we're not.
As a busy professional, it may not be easy to keep up with a creative practice. At times, you might longingly look at your studio space and feel guilty for neglecting it…after all that is what it is there for right?
How could you possibly fit one more thing in a day that is packed with meetings, appointments, social activities, gym work outs, family, pet duties…the list goes on and on….art will be there when it all “settles” down. The sad thing is…we both know that it doesn’t tend to settle down (if you are anything like us, it tends to revive up even more!).
One way you might want to explore is online creative challenges. This keeps your mojo flowing, allows you to experiment with different mediums and that you may not normally focus on in your own art practice.
For example, Art Everyday Month, a 30 day challenge started by artist Leah Kolidas occurs every November and encourages you to create something, anything, related to a daily prompt. HeArt Space facilitated by art therapist, Kate Leppard is another one of our favorites. It is an ongoing creative challenge with different topics each month to spur your artistic practice.
The additional benefit is that most of these challenges create community….a community of like-minded artists and creatives that are working through the challenge with you. You may find yourself making many friends and colleagues from across the country through the process since most of them include a private Facebook group to show your work or even at times vent about your creative process.
There are virtually 30-day or daily practice challenge in just about every creative field, whether it is writing, poetry, culinary arts, etc. you name it. A google search on any of these topics with “daily challenge” or 30 day challenge will open you to a world of other creatives and can help jump start your practice. There is nothing like seeing how others are juggling careers, kids, etc. and posting every day of their progress with a challenge. If they can do it, you can too!
What creative challenges have your tried? How have they enriched your creative life?