A blank page is where most creative thoughts start to come to life. Yet it’s that blank page that can be the hardest part of the whole creative process. We have all been there… when you just need to think of that one great idea, project, or creation and suddenly your mind is as blank as the white page staring you back in the face. It’s almost like its taunting you, asking you what is worthy enough to take place on it.
Creativity can be one of the hardest, most frustrating things to accomplish, yet it can also be one of the most satisfying feelings in the world when you finally let it in. I’m a creative, always have been and always will be, but here’s a secret from a creative to the average “I’m not creative” type of person… you are creative. You can be just as creative as any of us art, music, theater, literature buffs that “claim” to know how it works. I’ll even take a step further and tell you another secret…sometimes you can think of better ideas than those “creative” people around you. Creativity is nothing more than a skill that can be learned and perfected; just like riding a bike or playing a sport. Sure some people can tune into it more naturally than others but just because they can, doesn’t mean you can’t. At first, you may suck at it, but once you push past those bad ideas something really amazing starts to happen in your mind… the light bulb goes off. That’s when you start to get excited, that’s when you pick up that pen with confidence and start filling your blank page.
There are no set rules to being creative but I can share with you what I have found to be useful in my 21 years of life thus far, and the tools I continue to use to work on my creativity, in hopes that it sparks yours. So on that note, here are my top 10 ways to get your creative juices flowing and yes, I’m talking to you too Mr. “I’m not creative.”
Get a Sketchbook
A sketchbook can be a useful tool whether you can draw or not. Carry it around with you, write down things that excite you, that make you happy, sad, angry, or confused. Write down something that sounds interesting to you or just sketch a picture of your coffee that morning. Here’s why it helps:
- It gets your brain to constantly think creatively and like I said creativity grows with practice.
- We live in a very busy, fast moving world and something can inspire you one moment, but the next moment you have to go pick up Timmy from school and have dropped your paperwork all over the floor in a rush to get there and suddenly that inspiring moment or thought is gone. Write it down when it comes to you so that you can come back to it when you’re not so busy.
- Overall, it’s just a way to keep all your thoughts together and go back to them again and again, as many times as you need to. Creativity can grow and develop from old thoughts or ideas, so keep them with you.
Don’t Worry About Being Original
Sometimes when being creative you can get caught up in the idea of being “original” and that limits you to learning and growing. Don’t get me wrong, original ideas are a gem but they take time to develop. Don’t disregard other peoples ideas, or looking at Pinterest for ideas just because you’re set on being original. There is so much to learn from others that it would be silly to do it on your own. If nothing original is coming to mind, just practice drawing a picture that’s already been created or writing about something that’s already been written about. In the process, you will gain skills, find your voice and those original ideas will start coming to you.
Put On Your Favorite Music
Music is an art in itself, and how better to get your mind thinking creatively than to listen to art (preferably something happy because good moods are also associated with higher creativity.) According to a New Scientist article by Igna Vesper, “Simone Ritter, at Radboud University in the Netherlands, and Sam Ferguson, at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, have been studying the effect of silence and different types of music on how we think. Ritter and Ferguson found that people were more creative when listening to music they thought was positive, coming up with more unique ideas than the people who worked in silence.” Still don’t believe that music will help with your creativity? Then look it up for yourself, and while you’re at it try listening to some.
Get Some Exercise
This may sound unrelated but exercise can help in more ways than just physically. Not only does it give you a change of scenery but working out for a good 30 minutes a day can actually boost your creativity and pretty much every other dimension of your cognition. I won’t bore you with all the scientific details about it but just remember exercise affects your brain in lots of positive ways so next time you are feeling a creative block, try going for a walk or to the gym for a bit.
It’s OK to Take a Break
Don’t feel like you have to come up with your idea at that exact moment. There have been plenty of times I sat down and simply did not feel my creative juices flowing so I had to step away. Sometimes your brain just needs a break from trying to be creative in order to be more creative later. So if the light bulb isn’t turning on in right then, just stop and come back to it later.
“Sleep On It”
Going off of the “take a break” tip, get some sleep too. Our brains can get tired and overwhelmed and simply just don’t function right without the necessary amount of sleep. Your brain continues to work and think while you’re sleeping so if nothing is coming to mind that night, just go to bed and let your brain do the work on its own. Not only will you wake up rejuvenated, you’ll have a fresh and ready for the day mind, with probably some new ideas it came up with while you were snoozing.
Find a Side Project
Side projects can be anything, from starting a photography Instagram account because you love taking pictures or writing a fitness blog because you loving health and fitness. Find what you are passionate about and explore it on the side because it is in our passions that creativity can grow and flourish.
Practice, practice, practice. I can’t say it enough, being creative is a skill that grows the more you work on using it and practice it. Do it in any way that you want but practice will ultimately strengthen your skills and make you a better creative.
Look For Inspiration…Anywhere.
I kind of already hit on this in the “sketchbook” tip but it’s important to mention on its own. Inspiration can come from anywhere, anyone, anything, so look for it. When you’re out eating lunch try people watching, listen to what stories your friend is telling you across the table, or look at the paintings hanging on the walls. Just simply open your eyes and ears to the world and you’ll be surprised what you find.
Let Go of Perfection
I’m going to end with this one because I’m a perfectionist and I know how hard this can be to accomplish. Letting go of perfection allows you to reach your full potential. If you don’t try to do something just because you won’t be “perfect” at it you’ll never know what you could have accomplished. No one is perfect, and that’s ok, it’s sometimes in those imperfections that the best creative ideas come to life.
Everyones got their own tricks of the trade and some things that work for me may not always work for someone else but overall these 10 tips are the ones that come to mind that help me and I think will help you. If you’ve got any tips that didn’t make the list feel free to tell us about them in the comments!