The little things you can do often to think or act creatively are what prime you for the opportunities to do big, creative things.
If you wanted to write a novel but had never written a paragraph or two before, you’d probably have a hard time doing it. Of course nobody goes to the major leagues without first throwing a few in the backyard.
If your drive for creativity is something larger than scratching an itch, well, a good way to guarantee you’ll have what it takes to really fulfill that need is to have had practiced in the first place. The small, everyday things you can try to be a bit more creative payoff in just this way.
You can fulfill the most basic creative needs by simply doing something differently than you usual do. Try using a different tool, taking a different path, acting a little freer than usual, mixing constraints with resources, working through things backwards, anything just to see what happens.
Of course, and thankfully, there are hundreds of creative exercises you can use to feel creatively satisfied on any basic level. Those patterns of thinking—the things you experience when doing small creative acts—inevitably become how you think when bigger opportunities become available.
Whenever you feel a need to be creative, recognizing that moment as an opportunity for change is what’s going to enable you to warm-up your creative capabilities. The little things matter, even if they feel useless or unimportant when you’re doing them.
For my everyday practice, I wrote this post paragraph-by-paragraph backwards.