5 Ways to Sharpen Your Creative Chops
Yes—everyone is creative. But keeping your creativity at its best isn’t a passive endeavor. (You know what they say… “use it or lose it.”) Whether or not you believe you are especially gifted in the creativity department, it’s essential that all of us continually flex those skills in order to produce great ideas. Here are five things we can do on the reg to make sure our creative muscles stay in tip-top shape.
1. Shake Up the Routine
Always work at your desk? Move to the kitchen table. Tap out ideas on your keyboard? Bust out the pen and paper. Once in a while, it’s healthy for your creativity to break from the set routine, even if it’s in small ways, like switching up the color of your ink pen. Creating in the same environment, in the same context, in the same mindset, can get you in the groove—and sometimes grooves are called ruts. A little bit of change can be instrumental in breaking out of a rut, or at the very least, keeping your ideas fresh and exciting.
2. Consume Everything
In large part, creativity is the ability to connect existing ideas or experiences in new ways. So, the more you have floating around in your head, the more ideas you have to mix and match. Regardless of your main creative outlets, consume all genres and styles of art and media. Read! Look at art! Listen to music! Watch film! Whatever! Constantly consume anything and everything you can.
3. Practice the Rules—to Break Them Better
No matter your trade or level of mastery, practicing the fundamentals of your job or craft can strengthen your creativity. Take some time in your work to revisit the basics and reinforce the rules of the trade, even if they seem like second nature. Oftentimes, the most disruptive and meaningful creations are those that break or bend the rules with expert finesse. So, intimately knowing the rules can fuel your ability to manipulate your audience’s expectations in brilliant ways.
4. Write Everything Down
This isn’t new information, but it’s also something that not everybody does. Inspiration can pop up anywhere, anytime. And no matter how convinced you are that you’ll surely remember that spark later when you’re ready to create, you probably won’t. Or, you won’t remember it in all its original majesty. So, carry around a notepad, sketchbook, or simply rely on notes in your phone, and capture EVERYTHING that comes to mind. Not in a forced “I’m going for a walk and will think of as many ideas as possible” way. But in the course of daily life, be diligent about getting your ideas down.
5. Get a Hobby
There’s tons of research that supports the idea that spending time OUTSIDE of your main vocation can actually strengthen your creativity, in all respects. So, if you’re a painter, try dancing. If you’re a dancer, try pottery. Or for us in more corporate roles… if you’re in strategy, try writing. If you’re in research, try strategy. Whatever it means to you in your life, expand your comfort zone and exercise your creative muscles in new ways. Over time, this expanding creative universe will boost your brainpower across the board.
Interested in more content on creativity? Check out how to disappear completely to find your creative peak, 3 workouts to exercise your creativity, 6 pointers on how to maximize your creativity while working from home and a fun coloring exerciseanyone can do to get those creative juices flowing.
Angela Jones is a VP, Creative at Seed Strategy where she specializes in strategically crystallizing winning ideas and helping lead teams towards a fully realized creative vision.
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