You need to be more creative. Your business could be more successful if you approached it with more imagination. You could write blog posts or articles, design your next promotional piece, or create clever videos that would take things to the next level. If only you had more of that creative spark.
Here’s a secret: You already have everything you need to bring creative force to your work and your business. You may feel like you’ve hit a plateau or like the imaginative side of your brain has gone on vacation. But these nine steps are sure to revitalize you and get that creative energy flowing again.
1. You already are creative. Believe that.
The brilliant invention teacher Bill Seidel started his classes by asking the students to raise their hands if they were creative. Then he’d tell them about research showing that people who believed themselves to be creative actually were measurably more creative than those who didn’t. Then he would ask again for them to raise their hands if they thought they were creative, and if every hand didn’t go up, he’d explain the research a second time and then asked again for a show of hands. He would keep repeating that process until every hand in the classroom went up.
Believing that you are a creative person will actually help you be one. So officially pronounce yourself to be creative. Which, of course, you are.
It might sound paradoxical, but clearing your mind of all thought–or at least doing your best–will unleash your subconscious, less task-oriented dreamer side. Meditation experts have told me that consistency matters more than length of time, so try starting with five minutes–or even three minutes–a day.
3. Go for a walk.
Something about walking can unleash your subconscious mind and bring your emotions clearly into focus. It’s also a great way to activate your creative side. I believe it works best if you’re walking in familiar territory, preferably without having to work at navigating traffic or cope with other big distractions. And when trying to reach my creative side, I tend to prefer walking alone.
4. Listen to music.
Music impacts the right side of our brains more than the left. And while the idea that creativity is a purely right-brained matter has been debunked, it’s still true that most of us spend most of our time focusing on the verbal and organizational skills that reside in the left side of our brains. It’s nice to give the right side equal time.
Since you’re listening to music anyway, you might as well get up and add a little movement. Letting your body move of its own accord to Motown, Mozart, or whatever else floats your boat is a great way to unleash creative energy, not to mention counteract the ill effects of sitting all day. Dancing around the office is definitely allowed, or it should be.
Writing in a journal, especially longhand, and especially when you write quickly and let whatever’s going through your mind flow out, is a great way to break through to your more introspective, creative self. That’s why the great creativity guru Julia Cameron tells her students to spend the first 30 minutes of the day writing three journal pages–longhand–no matter what. Try it. It works.
7. Have an artist’s date.
Speaking of Julia Cameron, another practice she recommends and that I like a lot is to have a weekly “artist’s date.” You go by yourself to do something that’s fun and perhaps pushes you out of your comfort zone a little. It doesn’t have to be something specifically creative, she says, but it does have to enjoyable. We all need to feed the child inside ourselves or else when we keep reaching for ideas and creative work, we may find that we are tapped out. If you’re not sure what to do on an artist’s date, here are 101 suggestions.
8. Get out of Dodge.
Travel, especially traveling alone, can be a fantastic way to unleash your creative side. Spending time in airports or on airplanes or trains can be so conducive to creativity that Amtrak, finally giving in to several writers’ requests, began offering a writer’s residency aboard its trains.
If travel isn’t in your plans, a more local change of venue can work wonders too. Take advantage of our mobile age and take your work with you to a caf, colocation office, park, or other space. When it comes to an environment that will boost your creative mindset, different is good.
9. Record your dreams.
Your dreams are a great source of creative inspiration, and tracking and remembering them will give your brain something meaty to chew on. That’s likely to get you thinking in unexpected directions. Dreams can be a valuable source of insight, ideas, and intuition. They can even inspire new products or help you make better decisions. So keep a notebook by your bed so you can remember and write down as many dreams as possible. They could lead you to your next great idea.