I’ve been reading a lot about creativity lately in an attempt to answer the question, what makes some people more “creative” than others. Personally, I don’t believe that this is genetic. I believe that environment and habits help cultivate a belief about one’s creativity.

For example, someone raised in a family of artists and musicians will naturally be more comfortable with the concept of creativity. It will seem innate to them (and it is). Someone raised in a family where there are no arts practiced and no creative expression may be uncomfortable with their own creativity simply because it’s unfamiliar to them. It doesn’t mean they’re not creative, it just means they haven’t had any time to play with that side of themselves. (Okay, that sounded weird. Sorry.)

You Control Your Environment

If you grew up in an uncreative environment, it’s time to let it go. And if you live in an environment right now that is lacking in imagination and creative expression, guess what…you can change that. You control your environment. Whether you’re decorating your bedroom or home office or expressing yourself in a journal or in the clothing you wear, you have the unique ability to add creativity to your life. And I’m not talking about going out and getting a tattoo to express yourself. I’m talking about daily doses of creativity.

Creating a Creativity Habit

Make a list of creative outlets you’d like to explore. It doesn’t matter if you suck at them, if you enjoy the activity then it matters. For example, I’m a terrible photographer. However, I enjoy taking photos and exploring why some photos look better than others. I’m slowly learning about framing and composition. It doesn’t matter that I’ll never make any money as a photographer, that’s not what this is about. So start writing down creative ideas that you’d like to try. For example, I’d probably put the following on my list:

  • Drawing/sketching
  • Crafting/sewing/DIY home projects
  • Redecorating my home
  • Video Blogging
  • Dancing

Your list might have gardening, photography, playing guitar and furniture making on it. Don’t limit your ideas, this is just a list and no one is going to hold you to anything or judge your items.

A little story…

When I was 29 I had a bit of an early mid-life crisis. I realized I wasn’t doing anything with my life that I wanted to. I was a mother of two young children and I’d worked as a headhunter for a financial staffing company. Not really where I thought my Advertising degree would take me… In a state of panic I sat down and wrote a bucket list. These were items that I wanted to do before I died.

Yes, I was 29 and apparently a bit dramatic at the time. Having two children under the age of 3 may have contributed to it. At any rate, I was surprised to see that “learning to rock climb” and “writing a book” were at the top of my list. These weren’t items that were on my conscious radar. I started climbing at the local climbing gym and I started writing. I even took a creative writing course at University of Michigan. It was a tremendous confidence boost and it set me on a more rewarding path.

Take Your List Of Creative Ideas And Start Exploring Them.

Try to do something that rewards your creative spirit at least once a week. If you just don’t have time for that, start collecting creative images that inspire you. Cut them out of magazines, print them off your computer or save them into a file on your computer. Begin letting your creative side out on a regular basis. Small actions lead often lead to bigger and more confident steps. When you’re ready to make time, begin adding creative exploration to your week.

What does This Have to Do with Writing?

You’ll see that the more you exercise your imagination the better your writing sessions will be. Learning to rock climb, sketch or play guitar helps forge creative connections. It wakes up your mind and gets you excited about life.

Of course habits and environment aren’t the only two reasons some people are more creative than others. We’ll look at creative confidence next time.

Happy writing!