“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou
I realized a while ago what Maya Angelou undoubtedly knew all her life: that when I listen closely for my creativity, and when I give it the attention, nurturing, and care that it desires, it shows up a lot more often in my life. And why not? After all, if a friend sends us a thoughtful and useful gift that we never use nor thank them for, they probably won’t bother coming around again, will they? Our creativity, just like anyone who provides brilliant gifts to the world, longs to be heard, used, and appreciated.
With the purpose of inviting and encouraging creativity to make itself a familiar friend in our daily lives, I’ve found the following five “creativity kickstart” habits invaluable. My hope is that these will allow you to kickstart your own creativity and follow it wherever it may lead you.
1) Make time for creativity.
I find that when I wait passively for inspiration to strike, it seldom comes. But when I carve out specific time to listen for inspiration, it comes calling. Call it a brainstorming session, call it mind-wandering time, call it whatever you like – when you consistently make time for creativity, I promise you it will eventually start showing up.
2) There are no bad ideas.
Nothing kills creativity like self-doubt. So often do we have a new idea only to immediately follow it with that all-too-familiar thought: that’s a stupid idea. Get into the habit of not dismissing any of your ideas until you’ve followed them down the rabbit hole at least a little ways.
3) Keep a creativity journal.
I find it helpful to keep a small journal where I can jot down any and all creative ideas as soon as they come to mind. It doesn’t matter how small and seemingly insignificant or how big, bold, and crazy they might be. If they cause a spark in my mind, they go into the book. Your ideas are rare gems, so collect them as best you can.
4) Take thought walks.
I’ve had some of my best ideas while out on a solitude walk (meaning a walk with no people, no music, and no phone/device). There’s something about being outside of our typical environment and free to let our eyes and minds wander which seems to invite creativity in. The next time you’re struggling to find your next step in a creative project, take a thought walk, and see if the solution presents itself.
5) Dive in.
The sooner you can start in on a new creative idea, the better. For only when you dive into bringing your idea to life will you discover whether it’s an idea you truly want to see through to the end or one that you will instead give thanks for and let it go. Brilliant ideas are often disguised as mediocre ones in the beginning, and if you don’t dive in, you’ll never know which your best ones are 🙂
What creative idea will you dive into this week?