3 Sure Ways To Be Creative
I'm stuck. I can't think of anything good. I can't be creative. Of course, at the moment I'm sitting in front of the TV while surfing the net. I'm mad at my brain for not thinking uber-awesome, creative ideas that will lead me to create the best thing since sliced bread or toilet paper. I want to blame my brain for being stupid and uncreative, but the truth is that I have no one to blame but myself. If I'm not feeding my brain high-quality content, or giving it space to grow, no creative ideas will ever park their butt in my brain.
Let's do something about this problem. Here are three awesome and fool-proof ways to get your creative juices flowing!
Observe Everything Around You
You may have seen what you currently have in front of you millions of times. You may see your route to work every day. You may even be able to tell me the color of your shoes without looking down. This could easily lead you to think that you know everything there is to know about a certain place or thing. But do you?
Seeing is just that: seeing, scanning, viewing.
Observing involves more mindfulness. Observing means to regard with attention, so as to see or learn something.
In the words of Mark Haddon, author of the wonderful book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, "...people are lazy. They never look at everything. They do what is called glancing."
Are you glancing through life, or are you really observing it?
If you want to boost your creativity, you need to OBSERVE. You need to become more mindful of your surroundings and perhaps see them in a different light. Instead of thinking, "Oh, those shoe are green," look at the sides of it, the scratches, the dirt, the marks. Imagine how those marks got there, imagine how you would feel if you were the shoe, imagine what the shoe is thinking. Sure, it may sound stupid, but it's a way to force you to think in a different way. It's a way to get your brain to think in a more creative, tangential way.
Always Carry a Notebook
If you don't write it down, you will forget it.
Now that you will begin observing things, recording them in a notebook is a great way to keep track of your new ideas and concepts.
Keep all your ideas (good and bad)
Ideas are like farts -- sometimes they arrive at the most inconvenient of times. They may arrive when you are away from your laptop, or in the middle of the night when you wake up from a horrible nightmare or a sweet, sweet dream. And we always fool ourselves into thinking we will remember this awesome idea at a more convenient time. But we don't! These ideas never come back! They whimsically appear whenever they feel like it, and if you don't catch them at the moment, they're gone forever. That's another great reason to always carry a notebook.
Cellphone vs. Notebook
You may say, "Look, lady, I have an awesome app in which to take notes. I don't need to carry around a silly, outdated notebook."
Well, I have one, too. And I've come across some great apps that are truly wonderful tools for note keeping. However, those apps can never replace a notebook. Let me list the ways:
1) They lack personality. Typing notes is not the same as writing notes. A written note can sometimes convey even what you were feeling at that moment by the way you wrote it, the letters you used or even the pressure applied on the writing utensil. When you go back to read what you wrote, you can almost feel what you were feeling at that time. A note taking app, no matter how awesome, cannot mimic that feeling.
2) More freedom. A notebook gives you more freedom to write exactly what you mean. You don't have to worry about autocorrect or about hitting the wrong buttons. You just write, which allows you to concentrate on your idea and not on the technicalities of it. You just write.
3) Doodles. Yes, sometimes our ideas are better described with doodles or stick figures, something that most note taking apps do not allow. Sure, there's the Bamboo app, which is awesome for doodling and note taking, but it still can't replace the feeling of pen against paper.
4) You can take your notebook out in public and no one will want to steal it.
Joan Didion (awesome author) always carried a notebook with her. She would write her observations of people or events in that notebook, which allowed her to better understand the complexities and contradictions of her own mind.
Besides Joan Didion, here's a list of other interesting people who always carried a notebook with them, according to the Art of Manliness:
- Mark Twain
- Ernest Hemingway
- Benjamin Franklin
- Lewis and Clark
- John D. Rockefeller
- Isaac Newton
- Pablo Picasso
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Thomas Edison
- Leonardo da Vinci
Take Time To Be Alone
Creativity can be kind of shy sometimes, and may refuse to come out when feeling overwhelmed. We may have great ideas, but we never give ourselves the times to let them come out. We may be too distracted with our surroundings, with new technology, with the radio or TV, with our friends, etc.
The point is that if you want your creative ideas to see the light of day, you will have to spend some quality time with yourself. Quality time means giving yourself the time to critically analyze something, anything.
For example, when you read a book, take some time to think how it made you feel, what you think the story is lacking, or what feelings it has made you explore. Sometimes we can become so involved in a great book, that we turn page by page only superficially feeling what the author meant for us to feel. But if you stop and critically think about what you have read (or watched) you will see how you start learning more about yourself, about your ideas, about your foundation.
And creativity can then start to flourish.
Keep creating, keep exploring and happy living!