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How to Increase Your Creativity

Updated on July 10, 2015
Rik Ravado profile image

Rik is an Engineer who has held a range of marketing, technical support and management roles roles and is also a qualified teacher.

Longing to be More Creative

One of the most common desires, expressed by performers and writers (and, in particular, bloggers and hubbers) is to be more creative and inventive in order to produce more original material. Here we'll explain how you can boost your creativity.

Unfortunately, writer's block is an all to common affliction amongst authors. That dread of sitting at the keyboard when no words are forth coming. And if you write for a living, as a professional blogger for example, the fear multiplies a hundred-fold. If you identify with writer's block then this article is for you!

Children begin their lives being highly creative. The problem is that as we get older we forget how to innovative and be original. Toddlers spend around 98% of their time being creative and trying things for the first time and only 2% applying what they have already learned.

By the time we are in our thirties, however, this has reversed and many of us spend around 95% of our time doing what we have always done and only about 5% being creative and imaginative. In other words, we get stuck in a rut.

Van Gogh
Van Gogh

The Child Within

So if you want to start being creative, rediscover the child within and teach yourself to play again. Let the child loose and buy some lego bricks or colored pens and a notepad and start blue-sky thinking! Dare to imagine how your life could change.

What if we did things differently at work? What is my heart's desire? What am I passionate about? Give yourself a blank canvas and accept that change is possible in every area of your life. Think outside the box. Set yourself free to be inspired and think the unthinkable.

Let the space where you work, be it at home or in the office, start to become a place of creativity. If your life feels black and white then start to color it in! Keep notes of all your ideas, even the crazy ones. Use your imagination to picture how you want your life to be. The more you use your imagination the more creative you will become.

Why not stick coloured post-it notes on the wall with your best ideas?

Mind Mapping

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Mind Mapping is a useful technique for assisting the creative process and capturing ideas. Mind mapping involves writing a key word or idea in the centre of a sheet of paper and then adding further associated words/ideas radiating out from the centre, connected by lines.

Mind Maps are sometimes known as spidergrams because the resultant diagram has some similarities to a spider's web. The mind map releases the user from the left to right restrictions of writing or top to bottom restrictions of lists.

The user can also add diagrams or pictograms to make the mind map more visual. Mind maps can also be used to capture the essence of a lecture or to summarise the content of a meeting.

If you want to investigate mind maps further and you are not a confident writer or artist then why not check out the mindmapping tools and minemapping software available on the internet? The link below includes a list of both commercially available and free products.

For more information on Mind Maps, click here.

Mindmap by Graham Burnett consisting of rough notes taken during a course on Wellbeing.
Mindmap by Graham Burnett consisting of rough notes taken during a course on Wellbeing.
Creative Thoughts in a Bath
Creative Thoughts in a Bath

Set Aside Creative Time

Set aside time each day to be creative. The best ideas come when our minds are focused elsewhere. I often unwind pottering about the garden. Try spending time staring at the ocean or looking at a log fire. Take a long, slow bath. Just close your eyes and let the ideas begin to flow.

Go to sleep thinking creative thoughts or with a question in your mind and in the morning the seeds you planted will have blossomed into new projects and big ideas.

One of the most famous examples of this is the great Chemist Kekule who was inspired by a dream into a fresh understanding of organic chemistry and the structure of Benzine (more on this later).

Boost Creativity with a Journal
Boost Creativity with a Journal

Keep a Journal

Keep a journal and note down the ideas as they come to you. Don't limit yourself to words. Capture your ideas as diagrams and sketches too. Don't be afraid to use different colours.

Once you have your journal up and running, you can use it to kickstart the creative process when you feel 'dry'. Just reread your journal and develop the thoughts further that you have already recorded.

This way nothing is wasted. If you have a glut of ideas, just bury them in your journal and, like a squirrel, dig them up when you are short on inspiration.

Kekula's Dream which Inspired the Discovery of Benzene's Carbon Ring Structure
Kekula's Dream which Inspired the Discovery of Benzene's Carbon Ring Structure
Benzene Carbon Ring Molecule
Benzene Carbon Ring Molecule

Creativity and the Benzene Ring Dream

The dream of August Kekule, a German chemist, is probably the best known example of symbolism in creative thought. In the dream Kekule, struggling with the true nature of the substance Benzene, dreamt of a snake biting its own tail.

The first historical mention of the snake dream appears to have been by Kekule himself, in an impromptu speech at a benzene symposium in 1890. In this speech, Dr. Wotiz said, Kekule recounted a dream he had had in the winter of 1861-62 while dozing in front of a fire in Ghent, Belgium, where he was a professor of chemistry.

The dream was that of the self-devouring snake, which, Kekule said, led him to the idea that 6 carbon atoms might join into a ring to form benzene.

Finally

Always remind yourself that being creative means you no longer need to follow the herd. Ask yourself what your true passion is. What is your heart's desire? That is what you should be aiming for. If your current job doesn't match your ambitions then do something about it.

We were created to be innovative and creative. Don't let the daily grind take that away from you. Get in touch with the child within and start unleashing your creativity today.

Remember, If you don't use it (your creativity) you'll loose it !

Being creative may not make you rich (but on the other hand, you never know!) But it will certainly make you happier and more fulfilled and will dramatically improve the quality of your life.

Mind Mapping

Comments

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    • Rik Ravado profile imageAUTHOR

      Rik Ravado 

      9 years ago from England

      John - many thanks for this. I'll put this right. I thought it was an alternative US spelling - you learn something new every day!

    • profile image

      John 

      9 years ago

      PLEASE fix the reference about "benzine". The picture shown is benzene, not "benzine". "Benzine" is the name for petroleum ether, "benzene" is the term for a six carbon aromatic ring.

    • Rik Ravado profile imageAUTHOR

      Rik Ravado 

      9 years ago from England

      Couldn't agree more Jacko - creativity should be encouraged more, particularly as people grow older.

    • jackowacko profile image

      jackowacko 

      9 years ago

      I find that most people do not DARE to be creative.

      Many people tend to think that one is born creative. Which is absolutely true. Once we all (nearly all; 95%) were creative when we were young. After 20 years of school we know that only 5% is still creative.

      Which means, we all bear it in our mind, but have forgotten to tap into it. Let's find this forgotten treasure back.

      Jack

    • Rik Ravado profile imageAUTHOR

      Rik Ravado 

      10 years ago from England

      Organic chemistry - I can imagine that the Benzene dream would appeal to you!

      Yes I used to use a voice recorder in the car when I had a long commute. I find the more you try to log ideas in some way the more ideas you get.

    • profile image

      Organic Chemistry 

      10 years ago

      I particularly like the reference to benzene. I find that keeping a voice recorder with me in the car helps me to keep track of those creative thoughts i might lose since i can't write them down.

    • Rik Ravado profile imageAUTHOR

      Rik Ravado 

      10 years ago from England

      MM - glad you found it useful

    • MM Del Rosario profile image

      MM Del Rosario 

      10 years ago from NSW, Australia

      i always keep a small notebook to write my ideas...thanks for sharing these tips...

    • Rik Ravado profile imageAUTHOR

      Rik Ravado 

      10 years ago from England

      AC - glad you found it useful

      Vineet - Mind maps are interesting - will check out free tool.

      To position photos on the right (in text) create photo capsule then move it up the page using up arrow. If you want the pic on the right, click the right arrow symbol.

    • Vineet Nair profile image

      Vineet Nair 

      10 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      Hi Rik,

      One idea that works for me is to use a mind mapping tool. Its free and can be downloaded by simply googling the words.

      Let me give an example

      In my hub I wrote about yahoo takeover by microsoft - https://hubpages.com/technology/yahoo-bid

      Headline - My 2 Cents on Microsoft’s hostile bid for Yahoo

      I could create multiple posts from this topic like

      - 10 reasons why microsoft should takeover yahoo

      and

      - 10 resons why microsoft should not take over yahoo

      Thinking contra on the same subject helped in this scenario.

      Mind mapping tools make it easy for u to think like this and create multiple ideas.

      my 2 cents :)

      Vineet

    • Vineet Nair profile image

      Vineet Nair 

      10 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      I like the way u position your photos. I don t know how you do it . any tips. I am new to hubpages but I have a few hubs. Check me out if you find time..

    • arthritiscare profile image

      arthritiscare 

      10 years ago

      Great ideas.....especially for old folks like me :)

    • C-Lee profile image

      C-Lee 

      10 years ago

      Hi Rik!

      I always agree with that joke that says we should live life from old age backwards to infancy--and here's another reason. Activities as natural as curiosity, exploration and creativity become something we need to retrieve and reclaim. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Rik Ravado profile imageAUTHOR

      Rik Ravado 

      10 years ago from England

      Glad you found it helpful Doghouse. Trisha - Sounds a great idea - it also means if you have a day when you aren't feeling creative you have lots of ideas stored up. Bit like a squirrel with nuts!

    • tbartle profile image

      tbartle 

      10 years ago from Missoula, Montana

      I have a notebook that I keep with me that is reserved for article ideas. I basically just write down the title of the article I'm thinking about. This book fills up fast. Then, if and when I write one of them, I highlight it. The highlighting is great because it adds a sense of accomplishment.

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 

      10 years ago from California

      Rik

      Thank you for the reminder to listen to my creative voice within.

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