Practicing Creativity: Proven Ways to Exercise Your Creative Muscles
Having a hard time generating creativity? Check out these proven methods to help get those creative juices flowing!
Are you creative?
It's a trick question, because even if you answered with a "HECK NO", the truth is that everyone is **capable of creativity.
However, that doesn't change the fact that coming up with awesome new ideas can be challenging (and sometimes intimidating). Even the greatest artists and thinkers in the world will run into creative walls that they must breakthrough.
Whether you're a true visionary or a person who doesn't believe in your own ability to generate unique ideas, there are proven methods that anyone can use to stimulate and practice creativity.
10 Techniques to Improve Creativity
We sat down with our designers, copywriters, and marketing team to determine the top ten techniques for generating ideas and **breaking down those mental barriers that can hinder creative productivity.
While some of these methods are more effective for specific projects, all of them when put into practice can help you become more inventive, thoughtful, innovative, and original.
1. Go for a walk
Whether it's on a treadmill or outside, walking can produce new ideas and unclog mental jams. It's so effective that Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, two of the world's most successful innovators, made walking a centerpiece of creative development.
This is based on the notion that movement helps protect cognitive abilities, which in turn helps the mind stay active. On the other end of the spectrum, sitting and being stationary can have the opposite effect, and can lead to a form of mental stagnation.
So if you're sitting down and can't seem to generate clever ideas, get off your buns, put on your sneakers, and get your body and mind moving!
2. Write yourself a letter
My favorite high school professor, Dr. Mark Hernandez, has a razor-sharp wit. He's the type of teacher that makes students excited about learning, and his creative writing courses were always the most in-demand class amongst the entire student body.
Part of the reason we loved his class was because he actually taught us useful techniques that we could apply to our work and lives. My personal favorite was his method for eliminating writers' block, "When you feel like you're fresh out of ideas, take out a piece of paper and write yourself a note and see what happens."
Dr. Hernandez's advice is shockingly effective, and although this was initially suggested for creative writing woes, there's no reason it won't function well for other projects that need an inventive solution.
Being stuck in our own echo chamber of ideas can have a negative effect on progress, which is why calling on friends, colleagues, or mentors is sometimes the perfect remedy for creative blockage.
Working in teams steers us away from one-dimensional thinking and gives perspective from a different point of view. So while our own knowledge can be limiting at times, adding another person to the mix can open up new avenues of creative thinking.
4. Switch off for a moment
Searching for creative inspiration can feel like banging your head against a brick wall. That's why it's not rare to have those "aha!" moments when we're spacing out or sleeping.
Just like our bodies after a hard workout, our minds need rest after being active for a long time. In fact, in an interview with Chris Lewis, author of Too Fast to Think, he notes that people often have their most innovative ideas when they were "not at work, always alone, and not trying."
If you feel like your inner muse has gassed out, take a moment to step away from what you're working on, take a deep breath, and let the creativity come to you.
5. Failure is fine
As the great Michael Jordan once said, "I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeeded". To strengthen your creative mindset, this is the attitude everyone should adopt.
Not all ideas are winners, but that's okay!
It takes mistakes and imperfection to get closer to the final version of your creative genius. Putting a sudden halt on all ideas because you're afraid of bad results is the quickest way to shut down the brilliant progress you're sure to have if you keep trying!
6. Write down your ideas
Creativity can come at any time, so you should always be ready to jot down lightbulb moments. Not everyone keeps a journal, but here are some alternatives for tracking your creative gems:
- Note applications like Notion, Evernote, Apple Notes, Google Keep, Microsoft OneNote
- Pen and paper (the old school way)
- Sticky notes
Sometimes you'll come back to these ideas saying, "what the heck was I thinking?" But, on the flip side, you'll be shocked by the creativity you produce from this note-taking tactic.
7. Find flow with flowcharts
If you're in a pinch and need to spark creativity fast, flowcharts are what you're looking for. Flowcharts build upon initial ideas quickly, and they're also excellent for collaboration.
Creating a flowchart is a simple process:
- Write down the topic you're working on
- Create branches of terms that are related or similar to the main theme
- Eliminate the least relevant branches
- Visualize final product and solutions
While they're often used for writing and product design projects, artists, illustrators, and designers of all disciplines should not overlook this creative exercise! You'll be surprised how much you can expand your mind by practicing this simple method.
8. Mood boards
Mood boards are a fun way to visually enhance your imagination. Creators from every field you can imagine use mood boards to pump up their creative muscles.
While creating a mood board, everything from photos, videos, patterns, textures, and even words are fair game. All of these visual mediums in one place excite multiple senses which helps the process of thinking outside of the box.
9. Read everything
Seriously, read everything you can from science fiction, biographies, opinion articles, and every type of literature in between! Reading has tons of benefits including reducing stress, improving sleep, and can even alleviating depression.
But beyond the health benefits, reading also improves vocabulary and opens up pathways to new ways of thinking. Dedicating more time to reading, even just ten minutes a day, will have tremendous results for your creative output.
10. Do some doodling!
Here are some of the proven benefits of doodling and how it can directly influence your creativity:
- Improves problem-solving
- Strengthens one's use of logic
- Reduces stress
- Enhances neurological connectivity
Most importantly, doodling is fun! Creativity isn't always about making a brilliant solution or coming up with a masterpiece. Instead, it's largely about improving one's wellbeing, because in the end, happiness is what really counts (awwwwww).
How Do You Practice Creativity?
Do you have some techniques we forgot to mention? Or some better ideas on how to juice that creative mojo? Drop us a line on our social! The Blush Community always benefits from sharing excellent ideas with each other.