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I’m often asked about how to get more creative and more prolific, especially at events where I meet other creative people. I’m going to tell you exactly how to do that. Right now.
If you’re struggling with staying creative or getting creative, there are some really important things about creativity you need to know.
When you understand how creativity works and how we get creative, you can become as creative as you want to be.
About Creativity: Something important you should know.
If you consider yourself a creative person, you’re already ahead of everyone else. Studies have shown that if you believe yourself to be a creative person, then you are fundamentally more creative than people who believe they aren’t creative.
So if you wish to be creative, you need to first identify yourself as a creative person.
If you honestly don’t feel that you are creative, consider this your virtual slap-into-reality. You should also read this article about the nature of creativity and the lies we too easily believe about it.
You are creative and you can get more creative. If you feel like you aren’t then you’re simply out of practice. If you don’t stretch and jog every day, you won’t be able to finish a marathon. Well, you might actually finish it, but you’ll be huffing and puffing and hurting a lot.
The same is true with creativity. The more you exercise it, the easier it becomes.
Is there really a limit?
When we think of creativity, we tend to (or at least I tend to) think of the phrase, “The sky is the limit.” Meaning: there really is no limit.
And I believe that’s essentially true. But isn’t there a limit to what a person can do?
Here’s what scientists are now saying about creative energy: it is finite.
Now, before you shake your head in dismay at how ridiculous that sounds, consider for a moment what this might mean and how you might use this to your advantage – if you want to boost your creative output.
How the theory works.
If you want to do anything at all, you need motivation. Getting and staying motivated to create is about will power, specifically your daily dose of will power.
The idea is that our will power, what we’re motivated to do over the course of a day (from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed), has a limit. In fact, you can only do so much in a day.
Your time is limited, and so is your energy. No matter how healthy you might be and no matter how young, you simply do not have a bottomless-pit of energy at your disposal. No one does.
Imagine your daily dose of will power as a full glass of water. When you do something, you sip from that glass – and there’s less water left over for the rest of the day. You do something else, some other activity, and take another sip.
By the end of the day, you’re running low on energy, but also low on the motivation to do anything more. So you might only have enough juice (or water) to get into pajamas, brush your teeth and crawl into bed. If you don’t have that much power left, you might just fall asleep in your favorite chair.
Can I Have Another Glass?
You can’t get more water easily, but you can get it. You have to find the tap! Tap into your creativity. Ahem.
So what we need to do is first practice at being more creative. Do more creative things. The more you do it, the easier it gets. That’s a big part of how you tap into more creative energy.
But you can (and probably should) adjust your life so that the motivation you currently have isn’t wasted on the wrong things. By wrong things, I mean anything you don’t really care a thing about – but is nevertheless consuming your thoughts and ultimately your days.
These are motivation-suckers, and you can conscientiously cut those out of your life. But you do have to do it on purpose, with the purpose of taking control of your creative energy.
How to cut-out Creative Energy Zappers.
Both Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs decided conscientiously to wear the same clothes on certain days. It was something they each planned, in order to never waste any creative energy on what they were going to wear.
If you’re a clotheshorse, this won’t work for you. But I can recall working at a job where I had a uniform. I loved it. Not the job, but knowing that what I was going to wear wasn’t even a question. That part was great and I really was extremely prolific during those days, even though I was physically exhausted. Makes me wonder, it really does.
- You might decide to cut out ironing from your house chores. Forever. (I did. If it must be ironed, I don’t own it.)
- You might decide to cut out driving and take the train instead – so you can think, write, read, listen to music, not be angry at all the idiot drivers (because that zaps considerable energy!), etc.
- You might go on more walks. (Studies show that walking - actually, any physical exercise - helps free the mind, and even activate it.)
How to get more creative energy: specific steps.
So you can cut-out the stuff that drives you nuts and away from being creative. But what can you do to juice up even more? Here’s a list to get you going:
- Go to the nearest park (or shopping area) and draw as many people as you can. (Just scribble.)
- Go to an art supply shop. Drool. (I know I always do!)
- Give your creativity restrictions. Try a random restriction, like Dr. Seuss did when he wrote Green Eggs and Ham on a dare. Write a story using only 50 words. Random and fun.
- Have a cultural experience. A study shows (actually, many studies show this to be true) that exposure to other cultures boosts creativity.
- Write a letter (on really nice paper) to someone. Maybe include a sketch.
- Record your latest dream or a recurring dream.
- Do something romantic. There’s even a study that suggests doing something romantic (specifically) will actually increase your creativity.
- My Favorite: Write for 15 minutes complete garbage - just whatever pops into your head. This will allow you to really clear your thoughts of the stuff that bogs you down, and you’ll feel lighter, ready to tackle the things you want to do. You might even make this a daily habit.
What is it you’re willing to trade out?
What will you drop from your life in order to get more creative? Write below, let everyone know – I’m sure we can all use some great ideas!
Keep creating, no matter what.