Do you ever wonder why certain individuals are more creative than others? They produce engaging and insightful work consistently, while others have moments of brilliance few and far between. My journey has felt often felt like the latter. I’ve gone weeks trying to find a single idea only to have a big headache. Conversely, they’re moments I grab the inspiration out of thin air. Where did logic go?
I’d accepted my creative plight as the norm, but then recently that belief changed. I stopped trying to impress everyone. I was working incredibly hard to write but was producing meager amounts. Not only did the process become laborious, but it also sucked all the fun away. I decided to let go. Some people are going to like what I say, and some won’t. I’m okay with that.
I stopped trying to say the perfect line or word, and just started writing how I would speak. The answer is simple; If you force creativity, it will evade you. Try for a moment to see the world in the way you did when you were a child. Did you scrutinize every detail in your environment? No, you were in awe of it. No law states you can’t tap into that mindset now. Zen Buddhism calls this perspective “Beginner’s Mind.” When I stopped caring and let my voice come through effortlessly, I stepped off the boxing ring and onto the dance floor.
You need a “beginners mind” to be creative. You also need a daily framework that gives you the best opportunity to tap into this experience.
Here are a few guidelines:
One of the best activities you can do immediately to start feeling more creative is to begin a daily writing practice. It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer or not. Anyone will benefit. Trust me it’s amazing what you can accomplish in a short period. The time of day you decide is significant because you want to minimize distractions. Mornings are usually the best time for me to write. During the day, I tend to struggle to get words on paper. In the early hours, my mind is fresh and energized; I’m not thinking about the guy who cut me off in traffic earlier. The world is new.
Have a goal each day for your regimen. Start small. My goal every morning is to write five hundred words and usually, I surpass that. Soon I’ll put up my quota to a thousand words. Having consistency will boost your creative output and give you confidence in your ability to deliver your best work.
Let go of expectations
If you’re criticizing your work every time, you write an idea, pause and take a breath. Come back to the drawing board and permit yourself to let go. Whatever is floating in your mind, write it down. It might suck, that’s ok. Act quickly, then go back and edit. This stage should feel effortless. If it’s not, your trying.
No one produces the holy grail their first attempt. Allow yourself to be human and imperfect. It’s not that bad once you get used to it. The first draft shouldn’t be your best. You’re always going to revise and restructure. Acclaimed work doesn’t beam down from outer space. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?
Instead of focusing on people’s reactions whether they’re negative or positive, imagine how your work is going to benefit them. A single piece of writing can be transformative. All it takes is one article and a reader willing to listen. Be true to who you are, and don’t be afraid to speak your mind even if you know there will be opposition. Having a creative flow is about being authentic and not second-guessing yourself. This attitude takes time to develop, but once you’re in that flow, you have unstoppable momentum.
Do something different each day
If we’re stuck in mundanity, it’s difficult to feel inspired. Contrary to what you might believe, you don’t have to travel to Thailand or hike the Himalayas to reignite your creativity. Though that probably wouldn’t hurt. Assuming you can’t move halfway around the world tomorrow, consider slight deviations you could make in your schedule. The possibilities are infinite: You take a different road home from work. You go to a new restaurant for lunch instead of eating your smashed PB&J, or smile at the old man greeting customers at Walmart. You get the idea.
It’s funny how quickly we become victims to our boredom when it’s quite easy to get off that rut. Novelty is always around us. Remember “Beginners Mind”? In this perspective, anything around is a source of inspiration.
You can also think of creativity as a numbers game. The more ideas you expose yourself to, the more you’ll have in your arsenal to use. If I need to find blog ideas where’s the best to place to look? You guessed it, on other blogs. Often it’s useful to search where you’re least expecting to strike gold. Ideas are most impactful when they take seemingly unrelated topics and make them relevant to one another. Most great ideas are this way; they’re not entirely original, but influenced by previous knowledge.
Have an assortment of material you read daily, in conjunction with your writing. Twitter is a great resource. Medium is also another site I use, great for posting and reading. The more knowledge you have, the more breadth and depth you have creatively. Dig in and learn something new.
Having activities, you enjoy is an essential part of being creative. If you’re a visual artist, writer, musician, or business professional, it’s wise to let your mind switch gears. Our mind and body operate differently depending on the hobby we’re engaged. Singing and playing guitar, for example, is intuitive and meditative. I feel loose, relaxed, and often spacey afterward. Writing for blogs is both intuitive and analytical. I usually feel focused and grounded while working. Think about activities that give you stability and those that are fun and relaxing. Balance work and hobbies according to your needs. I know If I’m burned out writing, playing music is a welcome readjustment.
If you don’t have a lot of other hobbies, go out meet new people or join a meetup group. Having a social life does wonder for creativity. No matter what you hope to achieve, keep an open mind and use the tools at your disposal; you’ll never be short on inspiration again.