Creativity is a hard-to-define thing that eludes many of us precisely when we need it the most. So where does it come from? The great and the good have tried to answer this very question, as the quotations below demonstrate:
“Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas.”
DonatellaVersace (fashion designer)
“But out of limitations comes creativity.”
DebbieAllen (dancer and choreographer)
“Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity.”
T. S. Eliot (writer)
It seems that conflict, limitations and anxiety could be places to start. But this doesn’t sound very pleasant. So, if you’re keen to access your inner creative genius without the turmoil Versace, Allen and Eliot prescribe, then read on for five ideas that just might work…
1) Stimulate to create
Whether you commit to learn a new fact or word each day or develop an entirely new hobby, shaking things up is a great way to stimulate creativity. Make the most of down-time by reading a magazine or book you wouldn’t normally read, and maximise on traffic jams with stimulating radio programs, audio-books or podcasts. Before you know it you’ll be a fountain of knowledge, positively overflowing with fresh perspectives and ideas.
It’s important you take advantage of the moments that are your “downtime,” and use this time to do activities you wouldn’t normally get a chance too. In order to remain creative you should spend an hour a week taking part in a new sport, activity, anything that inspires and motivates you.
2) Take note
The annoying thing about creativity is that it tends to strike at the most inopportune moments. Always make sure you have a pen and paper with you (or the Smartphone APP equivalent), as the best ideas don’t tend to pop into your head when you’re chained to your desk. By getting into the habit of noting down your ideas, new ones will be more forthcoming more often. And don’t forget, your notes don’t have to take written form, they could be spider-diagrams or even doodles, depending on how the mood takes you!
3) Get out!
A fresh perspective can be achieved mentally – by learning about new things – but also literally by getting out and about. Walk somewhere when you’d usually drive (assuming it isn’t too far) or swap the sofa and the TV for a stroll around your local area. The fresh air is bound to work wonders. Then, for the truly adventurous, why not get a bus without knowing where it goes? This can be a cheap and easy way to immerse yourself in a new and stimulating place, plus when you’re done exploring you can always get the same bus home again!
4) Exercise and H2O
Creativity relies on a sound physical state, as well as a mental one. As such you’ll need to take regular exercise to get those creative juices flowing. A quick jog or cycle ride will deliver fresh air as well as a rush of invaluable endorphins. Similarly, make sure your brain is well-watered to avoid mental sluggishness; dehydration can be a real creativity-killer.
5) Pretend you’re 10
Books like ‘Winnie the Pooh’, ‘The Gruffalo’ and ‘The Little Prince’ all serve up extra-generous helpings of creativity. Just because you’re a grown-up doesn’t mean you should forget about your inner-kid. Remember when you were little you’d have imaginary friends, fight pretend dragons and assume that a camel’s hump was filled with water? Tap into that feeling and you’ll suddenly find yourself taking a fresh approach to creative tasks and life itself!
To conclude, a quotation from the musician George Shearing:
“Can anybody be given a great degree of creativity? No.
They can be given the equipment to develop it – if they have it in them in the first place.”
Hopefully this article will have given you some ideas for developing that equipment!
This is a guest post contributed by Julie Pena. Julie works in marketing at Printerinks.com, she believes that “Creativity plays an important part in motivating and refreshing people in the work place”. When Julie isn’t in the office, she enjoys reading about productivity and London’s fine art.