One of my favorite quotes about creativity is from the esteemed Maya Angelou. She said, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” It’s true and it’s one of the reasons why so many writing teachers and authors suggest writing every single day, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
I like to think of imagination as a muscle.
It gets stronger when you exercise it. However, like exercise if you always perform the same movement, you’re going to hit a plateau. It’s this plateau that often causes writer’s block or causes artists to get into a rut.
I believe that one of the best ways to boost creativity is to use those creative muscles daily but to also mix it up and use them differently. There are so many ways to express and explore your creative side. Heck, just sitting on your couch you can focus on a single object in the room and examine it differently. Look at the colors and the textures and imagine different ways you might use it.
Here are a few ideas to help you boost your creativity.
1- Eat a new fruit. Head to the supermarket and go to the section where they have the weird fruit. You know, the fruits that you’ve never seen before. Try marionberries, kumquats, or pummelos. Grab a star fruit, dragonfruit, or an ugli fruit. Take it home and give it a try. I suggested fruits because they’re sweet but if you have an adventurous side, try a new veggie or even a grain. Allow your sense to explore new flavors.
2- Color. I have coloring books and colored pencils on my desk. I don’t use them often, maybe once or twice a year. They’re the cool mosaic kind with tropical fish or flowers. Sometimes just sitting down on the floor and coloring like a kid allows me to tap into part of my imagination that isn’t used very often.
3- Rearrange your furniture. Choose a room and have fun with it. Move furniture around and spend a week or two living from a different perspective.
4- Write something else. You probably spend a good amount of time thinking, reading, and writing in your genre. Write something else. Write poetry. Write a letter. Grab a journal and start writing to yourself or to your god.
5- Try a new lotion or soap. Scent is a powerful part of your memory and your imagination. Find a new scent that you like and wear it. I’m a huge lavender fan and wear it often. Every once in a while I’ll switch it up and wear a vanilla lotion just to enjoy the change.
6- Listen to music, or different music. Do you listen to music when you write? Mozart is said to have a positive effect on the human brain and has been shown to improve cognition. I listen to Mozart sometimes. But if I’m really looking for a creative kick, I’ll listen to something I don’t hear often. For example, I might turn on the Motown station on Pandora or listen to my daughter’s Indie Pop. (for the record I prefer the Motown.) But the point is, it gets you out of your routine and stimulates your imagination.
7- Say yes. You probably have creative impulses all the time. The problem is that you listen to the naysayers in your mind and you let that stop you from expressing yourself. Maybe you’re afraid of looking like kooky Aunt Linda or maybe you think people will laugh. Maybe they will. Who cares?
My hubby and I were doing some tree trimming about a year ago. It was a beautiful white Aspen tree in our yard. We cut off a rather large limb and dropped it to the ground. I was caught by the beauty of that branch. It didn’t have any leaves and yet it was stunning. Something about the symmetry captured my attention.
I immediately wanted to hang it on the wall. It’s a good twelve foot branch but I knew just the place for it. After debating for a while about what to do, I finally told my husband I wanted to hang it on the wall. It took a bit of courage because I figured he’d tell me I was crazy.
He didn’t and he helped me figure out a way to hang it. My kids told me I was crazy, but I’m used to that. The point is, don’t let your fear of expressing yourself prevent you from enjoying your creative side. Embrace it. Maybe kooky Aunt Linda is on to something.