Creativity isn’t a physical product: a story, a painting, a wreath. Acquiring the skill to make items takes practice. Creativity, on the other hand, takes a commitment to a certain mindset. As Robert Henri put it “The object is not to make art, but to be in that state which makes art inevitable.”
Creativity is the intangible quality of being able intelligently synthesize concepts in a fresh way. But how can access this place of innovation and new thinking?
Here are some tips that may help out when things seem stagnant:
Be playful. That’s the first rule. Creativity will not flow freely from an uptight, unwilling source. Don’t be afraid to be irreverent or silly, or to create something that is not your best. Looking at your life or business from a playful attitude may help you see things in a new light.
Embrace failures. You’re going to have ideas that flat out will not work. But that doesn’t mean that parts of your ideas aren’t useful or can’t be recycled for later projects. Don’t give up after just one draft of an idea, but whatever you do, don’t force bad ideas to happen. Instead, put them aside and you may reinvent them later.
Keep a record. Write it. Draw it. Record it. Whatever you do, make sure you take note of the things you’ve done and keep these notes in a central location. It helps you gain creative momentum. Once you see the great ideas you’ve come up with, it gives you the confidence to keep pushing them further. Keeping a creative journal can help you draw from past, unused ideas and watch yourself progress. It doesn’t have to be fancy or even intelligible by other people. As long as you know what your shorthand means, your notes are invaluable.
Try something new. I’m sure you have heard the quote “Same actions get same results.” So, when in search of creative thinking, try something (anything!) new. Attempting new things may shed new light on the things you’re interested in. The more versatile you become, the more experience you’re able to use to leverage your creativity.
Flâner. A French word meaning, “to walk around aimlessly without a plan.” (It actually means something closer to I would like to meet/stroll around with you). The phrase has roots in the actions of 19th century writers, who would would leisurely loaf around Paris seemingly without purpose. However, this downtime has two purposes: you can draw inspiration from taking in the world around you, and you can let the ideas in your head marinate and mature. Take a break from your hard work and nap. Drink a cup of tea and watch a thunderstorm. Loaf around and be with your thoughts. Some of the most creative ideas come when you focus on yourself, or even when you focus on nothing at all.
Cultivating a creative mind takes some effort. Challenge yourself. The more you can put yourself in a space of creativity, the more you can imagine greater potentials for your life or business. And what you can dream, you can do!