Creativity can help us across all aspects of life, from productivity in our careers, to communication in our relationships. Many of us often wish we could be more creative, but are unsure where to start or how to fit it into our daily lives. Here are 6 tips to encourage you to be more creative and reconnect with your authentic self.
Doodling is an expression of the unconscious mind that happens when our focus should be on another task; it’s as if the creative part of us wants to have fun, to rebel, while we’re supposed to be at our most adult and serious (which is why we may doodle more in formal, organized meetings). Doodle play lets your unconscious mind out of the box without any pressure to create a masterpiece—it’s just a doodle, right? The doodle cleverly circumvents the biggest blocks to creativity—judgment and fear of comparison—because it’s not categorized as “serious” work. But your doodles still reflect you and your internal processes, helping you to cultivate new approaches and ideas.
Many people claim that they don’t have time to be creative, but creativity is a necessity, not a luxury or an indulgence; it is essential for our well-being. Make a commitment to your creativity by scheduling a weekly date to create and protect your creative time. Other than for emergencies, make this time sacred. This means choosing your creativity over other daily demands: the pressure to go out, meet with friends, or do the laundry.
Do what you love
All too often, we get hooked on the outcome of a project rather than the process of creating it. While it’s almost irresistible to dream of success and acknowledgment, this means staking a project on other people’s approval, rather than creating for the sake of it. This bypasses the learning experience a project can offer us personally, and ties up its potential success with things or people outside our control. Success should be measured by our enjoyment of our personal creativity and playfulness.
We know that laughter, like exercise, releases endorphins, the happiness chemical. It also increases blood flow, which helps to protect the heart. It’s also a brilliant de-stressor and immunity booster. We don’t engage our brain first to decide if something is funny; the body tells us it is. Like creativity itself, laughter is instinctive, and benefits us wholeheartedly. Creativity often needs the magic seeds of play and laughter.
Embrace ‘good’ boredom
Contrary to popular belief, in creativity terms, periods of inactivity are certainly not a sign of failure or time wasted. Some boredom is actually essential to the creative process. Enjoying “non-doing,” when you can simply “be,” feeds the creative soul. Make space in your diary for unstructured personal time. This is space for you with no allocated tasks. Rather than interpret any oncoming boredom as negative, see it as a way for your brain to take a break.
Don’t be a perfectionist
Perfectionism can be the block that prevents us from finishing a project, but in fact it often conceals a fear of exposure. If your painting, music, writing, quilting, sculpture, or short film is out there in the world, you’ll need to deal with how it’s received. Writing or illustrating your life story can help dissolve the blocks of perfectionism and comparison. Creative writing tutor Claire Gillman says: “Telling your story is a safe place to begin creative work, because no one can say what you write isn’t true, or criticize it.”
For more advice and tips on being creative, check out How to be Creative by Liz Dean.