Without a doubt the number one question I’m asked as a creativity expert is this: “How can I be more creative with my next project / homework / assignment / task?”
There are certain people who view creativity as something that’s turned on or off. Those are the types of people who want a simple and straight-forward answer to the question at hand. But creative thinking doesn’t always work like that. Instead, you have to view creativity like any other skill or ability, one that takes training and time to better master.
Think of the ability to perform basic math, or conducting an orchestra, or even learning a new language. They’re all possible for anyone to do, but take time and a lot of practice to do well.
So, if you want to be more creative, the best advice anyone can give you is the same advice they would give an aspiring mathematician, or philosopher, or dancer: practice.
You can see even the most established creative people practicing when they’re not at work. The best creatives have a seemingly innate understanding that, in order to be creative, they have to continuously flex their creative muscle. This explains in-part why so many great artists and thinkers find joy in a multitude of creative actions. Most creatives aren’t just artists, writers, or musicians, they’re also sculptors, poets, master puzzle solvers, chefs, and many other things. More often than not: they’re experienced in several various practices, all which cause them to think creatively in some form or another.
If you want to be more creative then: practice. Pickup a box of crayons and draw something, or take an impromptu dance class, or whip out an old cookbook and make something new. The more you explore your creative abilities, the more likely you’ll be able to use them when you need them next.
Of course, flexing your creative muscle is only one part required to spur on new ideas, but it’s a major one.