Last time I wrote about seven creative sins that you need to avoid, and I thought I would follow up this time with seven creative habits that you need to acquire.
If you are a creative amateur, professional, or wanna-be, these are seven creative habits that will help you increase your creative potential, and give your creativity more “oomph” when you need it most.
7. Making creativity about play, not work. Creativity frequently hits when you least expect it, and - if you’re like most people - you can’t expect creative insights when you are struggling to finish a project or stressing about something at work or school. So what should you do? Turn work into play from time-to-time by making an effort to relax and have a little creative fun. Whether it’s a few minutes a day, or a few hours a week, make time for yourself to paint for fun, take random pictures, or write funny articles. By turning creative time into play time, your creativity will spark more frequently and your creative ideas will be much more impacting.
6. Letting your mind wander. Our brains are incredible thinking machines capable of creating things you and I can hardly imagine right now. But when we focus all of our thoughts on just one thing, our brains aren’t free to do what they do best: create new ideas. So letting your brain wander and think about anything and everything at once is a great habit to get into. By not limiting your brain to just one train of thought, you open up a lot of doors. And if you’re having trouble fueling your creativity through an open mind, you can limit your thoughts to something random (a light switch, a piano key, an umbrella) and then let your mind wander around those ideas.
5. Just do it. Have a creative idea for something? Make it a reality right now. Don’t wait. The more you get into the habit of jumping on your creative thoughts, the more you will discover how great your ideas really are. Too often people put off their creative ideas, only to find out that someone else has gone ahead and done it and that it was a great idea. I’ve said it before and I can’t emphasize it enough: don’t worry about the risks right off the bat, jump into your ideas. Your creativity is strongest when it first hits, so take advantage of that fact.
4. Mapping out your ideas. Writing down ideas is great for maintaining creative inspiration, but when it comes to working out what ideas work and what ideas don’t, the best solution is to physically map out your ideas on paper using a mind map. Get into the habit of doing this often and your creative mind will begin to recognize great ideas - and not so great ideas - almost instantly.
3. Challenging yourself every week. Creativity drives us as human beings to solve problems. If we take a break from solving problems our creativity will become dull over time. Creating a new challenge to creatively solve every week is the perfect way to keep your creativity sharp. Come up with a problem (you do your laundry too slow, you’re not organized, etc.) and then think up a creative way to solve that problem. Keep your creativity sharp and it will be strong when you really need it.
2. Celebrating your accomplishments. Whenever you come up with a creative idea and follow through with it, treat yourself to a movie or a nice dinner. Rewarding yourself for creative accomplishments is a habit that will not only improve your willingness to be creative when things get rough, but doing so will also make you feel great. Don’t think about celebrating, just do it.
1. Actively seeking out new creative habits. One of the most important creative habits you could ever acquire is the need to actively seek out new creative habits. Whenever you focus on your creativity, you are improving it. There is absolutely no way to hinder your creativity by trying to expand it. Spend a bit of time everyday searching for ways to expand your creativity and learn new creative habits to acquire.
They may not be much, but these are seven creative habits that will definitely benefit you for life. Get into the habit of doing each of these and your creativity will not only become stronger, sharper, and more effective, but you will also learn to love every creative idea that hits you.
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Original photo by Selvin.