Crank up Your Creativity

Creativity lays cocooned inside each of us. It is often buried by a pile of routine, professionalism, responsibility, and "grown up" appearance. Sometimes the spark of creativity is dimmed by criticism, duty or simple neglect.

Nevertheless, it is always possible to reawaken your dormant creativity. The benefits of being more creative will then flow through all of your pursuits, providing you with inspiration for new ideas, new ways of doing things. It will brighten life and lighten your daily tasks.

You will be re-exposed to insights and strategies which will enable to crank up your creativity and bring the spark back into your life. Feel free to experiment. Explore the ideas one at time or in combination and incorporate those that work best to uncover and heighten the joy and rewards of living a more creative life.


  1. Accept that you are creative. Some people will happily inform you that they're "creative", while others are convinced you're either born with it, or you're not and they don't think they have any creativity. The truth is that everyone is creative, and researchers have proven that it is possible to improve creativity in various ways including diet, exercise, and practice.[1] You have the potential to be creative provided you want to give it a try to believe in your potential.
    • Creativity is a pathway to knowing yourself better and to Creating Life Balance in your life. If you see it this way, rather than as being about something that only some people are gifted with, you'll be better placed to find creativity within.
    • Not allowing yourself to be creative is like freezing over a part of yourself and denying yourself the therapeutic and tranquil focus that creativity brings. See being creative as being good for you.
  2. Change your perspective. You might have heard the phrase ‘Think outside the box’. Doing this is important for sparking creativity because it lets you see each situation from a different point of view. When changing your perspective, approach problems by breaking them down into several elements. Then, shuffle the elements around and look for new ways of finding solutions. Think of what would happen if an idea you're stuck on is replaced.
    • This method is important in enhancing creativity because it helps to remove you from fixations that can hinder creativity.
    • Read Think 'Outside of the Box' for more ideas on using this method.
  3. Shift your mental landscape. Mentally move away from your current location and try to see how the problem might appear when situated elsewhere. Imagine how another person in another land would react if subjected to the same situation you're facing. Picture how different situations might pan out in new ways just by being somewhere else, and perceived by someone else raised differently from you. What things would still matter and what would not? Focus on the things that they would not be as concerned about to try to reduce those elements in your mind too.
    • Try to mentally solve your problem from the point of view of a different setting (another city, say, or even another country). From there, adapt a solution to your current setting.
  4. Embrace your imagination. Let your imagination run wild – take a problem, an idea, a suggestion, a thought and run with it to all extremes. Exaggerate the outcomes in your mind, both magnifying and minimizing them. Don't just sit there and hope that ideas and inspiration will appear – exercise your imagination with techniques aimed at awakening the imagination and targeting it at idea making. The more ideas you come up with, the better, for many of the ideas will be flawed or unachievable but among them, there will be ideas that you can really run with, helping you to be as creative as can be. The following methods for ideas-storming originate from Simon Reynolds, who has had many years of experience working in the creative department of the advertising industry:[2]
    • The pick-a-word method: Pick any word and relate your creative problem or challenge to the word. For example, you choose the word "elephant". Your creative problem is to hold a party. Enjoy Elephants might suggest to you to choose a safari theme, to have the guests dress as elephants, and to raise funds for the World Elephant Fund. You might choose games with elephant and wildlife themes, and have a buffet filled with foods from Africa or Asia. If your word isn't taking you anywhere, choose another one. This process should be quick, quick, quick, and it should find you lots of lateral solutions you'd not have thought of otherwise.
    • The outrageous idea method: Let yourself think the crazy, usually unacceptable ideas and then pare them back. For example, you might think "I'm not going to write my essays anymore; I'll pay for someone else to do them". Of course, that idea is ridiculous, but you could pare it back to paying yourself in small rewards for stages of completion of your essay, creating your own personal "essay payment service" that benefits just you! Crazy ideas shake up your thinking and force you to look at things from a different angle; Lewis Carroll once said that "Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast" – try it yourself some time!
    • Cross fertilization method: Listen to someone in an industry that has absolutely nothing to do with yours; or sit in on lectures in a study field that you don't know anything about. And start listening for their skills, techniques, ideas, and solutions. You'll be amazed at how you can match things they use regularly to shake up your own way of thinking in new ways! It doesn't matter what you do; you can find parallels in all sorts of other industries and for those who work from home, check industries dealing with catering, event planning, therapy, accounting, etc. for new ways of looking at running your household.
    • What would my hero do method: Choose someone you admire greatly and imagine how that person would solve the creative problem or issue facing you. Immerse yourself in being that person, right down to the role they play daily, and imagine how they'd respond to the situation before you.
  5. Play with abandon. A constant focus on work without play dulls creativity. Creativity is like a wellspring that needs nourishing to burst forth. And this nourishing includes play, something that many adults who take themselves too seriously don't think applies to them anymore. Abandoning yourself to play though, is the way to open the doors to creativity,
    • Watch your kids and your dogs at play. See how they allow themselves to fall deeply into the rhythm of play and are not fussed by convention, time, rules, or the suitability of the occasion. Join in the play and let yourself go with the flow.
    • Play with music, with paint and pencils, with gardens, with snowmobiles, with horses, with ribbons, with balls, with model trains... – whatever you love to abandon yourself to, let it be a regular part of your life. It will nourish you and rekindle your creative flame.
    • Have days or afternoons where you have no plans. Just wander out into the world and soak it up, enjoy all that's thrown your way. Look at everything with wonder again and let life's possibilities come to you.
    • Laugh readily, laugh often, and laugh deeply. Invite laughter into your life and make it a part of every day.
  6. Immerse yourself in the artistic process. When you allow yourself to fall deeply into the artistic process, your self-expression takes over, time stands still and your innermost thoughts and feelings find their outlet. Art and design is the ideal medium for cranking up your creativity, so spend some time in your favorite artistic pursuit, such as photography, painting, drawing, designing houses, clothes, toys, etc., drawing, sculpting, making crafts, singing, playing music, dancing, composing, writing, etc.
  7. Find your comfort spot. Have a place that you stake as yours, however temporarily so – it might be a desk, a rock out near the sea, a little nook in the garden, or a certain seat in the library. It's your thinking spot, your personal quiet place to sit, contemplate, and to let the fires of imagination free. Make sure it is somewhere where you won't be disturbed and where you can give your thinking and ideas your full attention.
    • Cyberspace is not a personal thinking space. It's interactive, busy, and sometimes fatiguing. While it holds an incredible amount of ideas, you need to have distance from the online space in order for your own creative ideas to truly spark. Once you've had that distance, you can return your creativity to cyberspace fully fleshed out.
  8. Take your time. Time, time, time. You can't rush creativity. Hurrying does not help in the outflow of ideas. Your mind tends to go into a state of slight disarray when you are trying to force things. If you're low on time, keep a list of activities able to spark your creativity and pull it out whenever there are spare moments, such as waiting for a bus or while dinner cooks. Allow ideas to percolate; sometimes the best thing you can do for creativity is to simply let things bubble away over time.
  9. Soak up solitude. Learn to be good company to yourself. Highly creative people are very comfortable around themselves and Leo Babauta says that it is the number one habit to cultivate for ultimate creativity.[3] His personal study found that appreciation of solitude as a creativity generator is a common thread of creative people throughout history. Some of the things to consider when enjoying your solitude include:
    • Find quiet places to contemplate, away from the hubbub of everyday life. Quiet is essential for creativity, as is taking time out specifically to just allow creativity to wash over you.
    • Use solitude to recharge. A tranquility of mind comes with solitude that is hard to find in any other place or condition. This is therapy without someone else's interpretations or cost!
    • Love the time you have to yourself, when you can dance alone, ponder on life without interruption, and enjoy everything around you for no other reason than that these things "just are".
  10. Revel in connection. After you've soaked in solitude, reach out to others and get help. Communicate Effectively and Sell Your Ideas in the Office to others. A different view of the situation or challenge might help. Better yet, get many different views! Read the ideas of others, collaborate with people, and be inspired by them.
    • Never be too shy to ask. Diversity is very helpful in inspiring creativity.
    • Organize a brainstorming session. The spontaneous generation of new ideas helps in formulation of more ideas. The products of brainstorming can be the raw material in the construction of the idea.
    • Being around like-minded people can inspire your creativity when you're firing ideas off one another. However, be careful of falling into group think ruts; diversify your group every now and then to allow yourself to be confronted by new ways of seeing things.
  11. Keep it simple. Simplicity is important for creativity – when noise, distractions, consumerism, other people's ideas, visual media are impacting our senses, our own creativity is easily dampened. Clear the clutter from your life, and switch things off. Remove yourself from distractions, from stores, and from the myriad ideas of others, at least now and then, to allow your creativity a chance.
    • While it's great to be inspired by the ideas and thoughts of others, it's possible to become so bogged down in their ways of thinking that you forget your own. Be inspired but also let go often enough to be refreshed.
    • Eat healthy and exercise adequately. A well nourished body results in a well nourished mind. Moreover, exercise stimulates creative thinking.
    • Get adequate sleep. REM sleep improves creativity because it is problem-solving sleep.


  • Allow yourself to daydream. It's an important part of the creative process.
  • Keep a record of your creative ideas as they appear. Unless you've an amazing memory, many ideas disappear, including those that come to you in dreams.
  • These are just some ideas to get your creative juices going. They can be adapted to suit each individual. A large amount of it is down to you. How inventive can you be? How open are you? Remove the boundaries from your mind and you will find your creativity will increase.
  • Do something thrilling or even scary now and then, such as riding a roller coaster. Fear, thrills and frustration can open up innovative thinking.
  • Socialize with creative people in supportive, non-judgmental groups.
  • Participate in events like NaNoWriMo or The Sketchbook Project, where you are writing a novel or sketching with a lot of other people, many of whom aren't good at it yet and afraid to try. Outside support for your beginner efforts in an art form can help knock out insecurity and let you value your unique voice.


  • Never stop learning. If you do, your creativity will shrivel.
  • Consuming is never a replacement for creativity. Consumption causes us to place a value on everything created and done, thereby causing you to feel that whatever you've created is never good enough. Creativity isn't about standards; it's about connecting with yourself and letting your creative process flow unhindered by thoughts of perfection or meaning.
  • Remember that in brainstorming, four rules are followed for it to be successful:
    • There should be no criticism. Criticism hinders the free flow of ideas. This can be postponed until the session has ended.
    • Combining and/or modifying ideas is encouraged.
    • Quantity is preferred over quality in brainstorming.
    • Weird or strange ideas are encouraged.

Things You'll Need

  • Journal for ideas (online or dead tree)
  • A pen that you can write quickly with (to match the flow of ideas)

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Sources and Citations

  1. Siimon Reynolds, , p. 134 (2010), ISBN 978-0-670-07431-0
  2. Reynolds, op. cit., pp. 135-41, (2010), ISBN 978-0-670-07431-0
  3. Leo Babauta, The No 1 Habit of Highly Creative People,