“Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits.” – Twyla Tharp
Creativity is a skill. Yes, some people are more naturally creative than others, but it is still something that can be learned. Indeed, creativity, even for those who have a flair for it, can and should still be worked on, grown and improved.
Furthermore, there is a preconception that creativity is only for those in artistic or specifically creative fields. This is not the case. Thinking in this way helps you to solve problems, come up with fresh ideas, see things from different angles and take more risks. These things are useful in whatever profession you might work.
So, if you are not somebody you regard as naturally creative, how is such a thing found? How is this skill honed? Are there ways to cultivate it? Yes, of course. And here are a few ideas on how…
1. Consciously Listen to Music
Put on an album. It might be your favourite album; it might be an album that is brand new to you. Listen to it from start to finish, and jot down any thoughts that float into your head as you are doing it… however odd they may or may not be!
2. Draw Something Bad
This is a lovely little daily activity. Simply put aside 10 minutes in your day, treat yourself to a drawing pad and a new pen (or pencil, or crayon… whatever you like) and draw something. Pick an object, a coffee cup, a tree, a car, a ceiling fan, whatever… and just draw it. Do not allow yourself to erase anything or to judge whether it is good or bad… free yourself from criticism and just go for it.
3. Draw Something Good
On the other hand, you may wish to try this. I have often taken on a little project like this. I once decided I was going to get really good a drawing hands. I have a whole sketchbook full of hands. I spent a summer getting good at drawing them. It was very freeing and satisfying to consciously engage in a creative project that was not overwhelming in any way, nor was it for display or accolade, it was just there to cater to a need for daily creativity.
4. Cook Something Old In A New Way
Next time you are cooking… putting together a tied and tested family perhaps, why not swap out an ingredient. Trust your instincts. Have a play around. See what happens!
5. Let Sleep Help You Out
If there is something you are trying to solve, and you just can’t seem to crack it, why not release yourself from the tension and frustration this creates, and leave it to your subconscious creativity? I often find that if I sleep on a problem and get up at a good time the next day (as opposed to staying up late getting stressed) my subconscious creativity solves the issue for me and allows me to complete the task in half the time, and with half the stress, that it would have done the night before.
6. Snap Your Life
Next time you walk home, take a different route. Look around and notice new things. Maybe even take a few photos to commemorate the occasion. Like many in lockdown, I visited many local roads and parks that I had not visited before and had a lovely time discovering pretty houses I didn’t know were there.
Yes, media is something we use to switch off, to entertain us. But media is so much more than that, we can take ideas from it and use it to inform the way we think in a creative sense. Did a character in your show just deal with a similar issue to the one you are dealing with at work? How did they get around it? Could their approach ensure yours? Maybe yes, and maybe no. But now, at least, you are thinking about your problem from a different angle!
By Chris Thomson
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