Do you wish you were generally more creative? Would you call yourself a creative person but have days when you are stuck with writer’s block or whatever the equivalent is in other creative pursuits?
There are things you can do to increase your creativity. Not all these ideas will work for everyone on every occasion when a creativity boost is required. Still, it is worth trying some of them, especially the ones that give you an excuse to take a break or have some fun.
1. Do something new or different It makes sense that going somewhere different or making a change to your routine will boost creativity. You are likely to see and hear different things. There will be different smells. You may interact with people you don’t know. All these experiences will get you thinking.
You may go somewhere that has street art or a shop that has paintings hanging on the walls. These sights will encourage creative thoughts.
The new activity does not have to take a long time or be something ‘amazing’. It could be simply catching a different bus or trying out the coffee shop that has just opened up. (This afternoon I am going to take a trip to a coffee shop that opened its doors two months ago. It used to be a railway station building but hasn’t been used as such in the past forty years. I will take a notebook and pen.)
Street art boosts creative thoughts. Image:Marie Vonow
2. Listen to music Some research suggests Mozart’s compositions are particularly good at boosting creativity. Classical music in general is said to be good. Personally, I would usually choose something that combines the sounds of nature with instrumental music. At times a piece of instrumental music with a very definite beat fires me up. One example of this is ‘Conquest of Paradise’, which is playing as I write this artcile.
Music stimulates the section of the brain that controls emotions and creativity. (I just like listening to music anyway.)
3. Play video games This isn’t an activity I would choose but it would work for some people. Research has shown the more time spent playing video games the more creative a person is.
4. Work in a messy environment There are two schools of thought. One view is people are more likely to be creative if working in a messy environment because there are things around which will stimulate them. This works for me. It also gives me an excuse not to spend time sorting, filing and tidying up before settling down to write.
The other belief is people are more creative in a space where there is no clutter. Feng Shui advocates believe an uncluttered area allows creativity to flow. Specific placement of items is said to boost creativity.
5. Pick up a pen Use a pen and notebook instead of the computer to jot down ideas. The physical act of writing by hand stimulates the brain in a way using a computer doesn’t. Using brightly coloured pens, fancy or coloured notepaper or a really big piece of paper can stimulate creativity.
6. Make a creativity box Collect some interesting photos, magazine pictures, quotes, words etc and put them in an attractive box or other container. You may wish to decorate a plain box for this purpose. Add things like interesting shells, seed pods, bits of fabric with an interesting pattern or texture. Look through your box when you need a boost. Handle the objects and be aware of their textures.
7. Brainstorm with a friend The great thing about brainstorming is you can jot down any ideas that come up, no matter how crazy. You don’t have to think through the idea to see if it would work. There is no pressure to be neat when quickly recording your flashes of inspiration.
A friend and I brainstormed ideas for photos I could take for Hub Garden articles. She came up with ideas I wouldn’t have thought of. I have the list and refer to it from time to time when my ideas seem stale.
8. Think about something far away This can be something far away in time or in location. It may be a memory or based on something you have seen on screen or read in a book. It doesn’t have to be realistic. You could think about dragons in some far off imaginary world. See you are already being creative.
9. Take a shower Perhaps you are trying too hard to get into the creative zone. Take a break and relax. Have you ever found answers to problems or a bright idea pops into your head while you are enjoying a hot shower? Of course that’s the time you will get a great idea, how can you write it down?
10. Laugh Being in a positive frame of mind encourages creativity. Laughing boosts activity in those parts of the brain associated with emotion and in depth thinking. It frees you from feelings of stress and anxiety and this makes it easier to be creative.
Doing something creative makes people happy and builds self esteem. Boosting your creativity is a worthwhile thing to do..