First things first: If you want to know how to be creative, you must recognize that you’re already creative. Creativity is not dependent on who you are or what you do for a living. Creativity is inherently woven into the human condition, and art is not limited to a select few. We’re all gifted with the ability to interact with inspiration.
“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf
It doesn’t really matter what you want to create or why you want to create. Whether it’s for yourself or for the world’s pleasure, my biggest suggestion is to create from the bottom of your heart, because you truly love it. When you are absolutely in love with the idea that’s captivated you, you’ll probably inspire love and joy in others just by following your own fascinations.
Sometimes it’s easy to converse with inspiration, and other times it can be an almost impossible task. That’s one of the mysteries of the universe, and the good news is that we don’t need to understand the unknown. Yet when you do find yourself unable to communicate with creativity, I have a few ideas.
May these suggestions serve you.
How to Be Creative & Converse with Inspiration
Start a Morning Routine
Repeat a positive affirmation. Creativity is enhanced by positive perspectives, whereas it’s restrained by the limiting views of negativity and fear. Framing life in positive terms, and coloring your world with optimistic and friendly perspectives first thing in the morning can help you experience more joyful, peaceful, grateful, creative moments during your day.
Make room for peace and quiet. Inspiration often blossoms from stillness. Spending even a small portion of your morning in silence will help you ease into the day. It’s an especially good practice if your days tend to be noisy and hectic.
Meditate for 5 minutes (or more). Meditation boosts your brain’s ability to generate new ideas, gearing you up for a creative day ahead.
Look at blues and greens. The color green is associated with growth. The color blue leads to more relaxed and associative thinking and it is the color associated with the sky, the ocean, or openness in general. Gazing at shades of blue and green is an easy way to incorporate inspiration into your mornings.
Read this post for 3 morning rituals for a happier day.
Get Zen about Your Work
Take breaks. Through my own experience, taking a 10 minute break for every hour of work is a good ratio. It gives the mind a chance to rest and process information.
Keep your desk tidy and clean. Your work space should be a place where energy and inspiration are allowed to flow, with as little distraction as possible.
Use a pen and paper. Write out your to-do list and work notes by hand to get the creative juices flowing. Sometimes, just the feel of paper at our fingertips can help us connect with what we’re thinking, feeling, and experiencing.
Replace your desk chair with an exercise ball to keep energy moving as you gently bounce through your work day. Plus it’s an opportunity to incorporate stretching and play into your day (which also support creativity).
Listen to music while you work. Music stimulates the part of our brain that controls emotions, creativity, and motor actions. The Mozart Effect links classical music to increased creativity, concentration, and other cognitive functions.
Create an inspiration board. You could also create an inspiration corner or an entire room dedicated to creativity, if you have the means (though it’s not necessary). Every time you look at this collection of your favorite colors, quotes, textures, pictures, etc. you invite inspiration to reveal itself.
Always Be Learning
Read a book that sparks your interest. Each page you turn opens your mind to new ideas and allows you precious insight into the way others think (even if they’re fictional characters).
Open the dictionary to a random page and entertain an idea based on that word. I also love using the thesaurus to discover new ways to say things.
Adopt a beginner’s mind. Children are so receptive and absorb information like a sponge partly because they have what’s known as “beginner’s mind.” Their mind is open, free of judgment and limiting beliefs, allowing them to learn more freely and with less restriction.
Brainstorm and socialize. Contemplating other perspectives affords you the opportunity to think differently about what you believe in and how you see the world. You don’t need to change your beliefs, but it can be liberating and inspiring to practice open-mindedness about others’ beliefs.
View every challenge as a learning experience. There is a hidden lesson in every circumstance, an opportunity in each challenge, and a buried treasure waiting for you to find it. Learning to view our obstacles as opportunities rather than burdens is a trait of an optimistic mind, and positive thinking is a close relative of happiness and creativity.
Start an Evening Routine
Start a reflection journal, noting what you’ve experienced, even learned, that day. Every little thing counts. Writing can bring many benefits, along with them the enhanced ability to harness creativity.
Start any kind of journal. Carry around a pen and notebook during the day to jot down ideas and scribble as you wish. Writing is a beautiful way to let your imagination and thoughts flow freely. Your thoughts don’t need to be finished or perfect either, which leaves more room for creative freedom.
Lay down on the floor with your legs up on the couch or bed (at a 90 degree angle). This simple stretch relaxes your neck and spine (and possibly even your mind). You’re making space in your body for inspiration to flow through. Plus, the world just seems different when you’re looking up.
Get enough sleep. Sleep gives the brain a chance to process information from the day, and it rejuvenates the body for another day. Sleep is positively linked to creativity. If you could use some assistance getting a good night’s sleep, you can try breathing practices, words of affirmation, and writing down your worries on paper.
Focus on Your Happiness
Don’t quit your day dreams. Research conducted by Jonathan Schooler at the University of California in Santa Barbara found that those who daydream score higher on various tests of creativity. Letting our imagination flow into distant lands may improve our ability to solve problems.
Go outside and breathe in the fresh air. A change of scenery–literally–provides you with a bounty of new information to process. You’ll also get your daily dose of blues and greens (as noted above), and possibly some sunshine on your skin. Going for a nature walk helps me remember how to be creative.
Go somewhere new. Broadening your mental horizon will help you break free from limiting habits and small thoughts. Travel somewhere, whether near or far, and let your sight adjust.
Practice yoga. Certain yoga poses can boost creativity. If you’re not into yoga, try getting into stretching. Stretching your body makes it easier to concentrate on learning to stretch your mind. Personally, I love yoga.
Move and sweat. Exercise boosts your energy level, improves your mood, relieves stress, and increases creativity. Perhaps try to think about it like this: I’m sweating away all the stuck energy and making more space for creativity to flow freely through me.
Play. Again, become childlike in your mannerisms. Be silly, be weird, and laugh with those you love–pets count. Relax for a little while, because you’re okay.
Laugh, even when you don’t feel like laughing. The act itself can trigger a positive mood which facilitates creativity by boosting activity in the area of the brain that’s tied to emotion, decision-making, and complex cognition.
Start a conversation with inspiration. This may sound silly, but it’s an interesting idea that comes from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic. There’s this negative voice in our head that tries to convince us we’re not good enough in some way to fully express ourselves, or to create something that’s imperfect and still enjoy it. The truth is that you have the right to be here, to have your own voice and vision and creative expression. You have a right to collaborate with creativity because you are a living, breathing product of creation itself.
The point here is to declare (to this negative voice) that you’re absolutely worthy. Try declaring your intent, whatever it is: I’m a writer. I’m a photographer. I’m a gardener. I don’t know exactly what I am yet, but I’m curious enough to find out! Then defend yourself against those negative comments, speaking calmly but firmly on behalf of your worthiness to create.
Remind yourself to choose love. When we let go of fear and instead choose love, we can let go of judgment and stop comparing ourselves to others. We compare our work to a coworkers’ performance, or our art to a revered artists’ masterpiece. We may question the validity and importance of our mission, comparing it to what the world would have us aim for. Whatever your current creativity crisis, remind yourself that love is all that really matters. Whatever you want to do, do it with love. The rest will take care of itself.
P.S. Some of these creativity boosters are mentioned in my 101 Ways to Be Happy list, which you may find inspiring.
- How do you stay creative?
- What holds you back, and how do you work through it?
- What inspires you?
- How do you inspire/motivate yourself to create, or to live the kind of life you want to live?
Please share your inspiration, thoughts, insights, and experiences with me in the comments.
Share this post with someone who could use some inspiration today.
You are creative.