Finding your creative spark is a process we all have to go through at least once in our lives. For people who rely on their creative abilities for their livelihood, that spark can sometimes prove to be elusive – especially when there’s a deadline looming. For others who don’t think they even have a creative cell in their body, the thought of actually igniting their creative fire can be downright scary.
The plain truth is that we are all, each and every one of us, creative beings in our own right. Creativity is the mother of innovation, and regardless of how you use yours – as an artist, an inventor, to help others, or just as a means of creating pleasure for yourself – you deserve the awesome feelings that use can inspire. Your creative fire is already smoldering deep inside your, and just a simple spark can be all it takes for that fire to turn into a raging inferno of creative passion.
Sorry… I got a little carried away there. The thought of coming up with new ideas and new ways to create always gets me a tad over-excited. Happens every time I sit down to write an article, put a newsletter together, take a picture, or even play the piano. I can get downright giddy with it at times. *grins*
If your creative engine needs a bit of TLC, why not try one of these sparks to help get it going…
1. Do a brain dump.
Come up with at least 100 thoughts and ideas in a single session. I know it sounds overwhelming, but it is doable, and works really well at jumpstarting the creative process. It also provides a good way to do a let go of all those random thoughts you may have rolling around in your mind.
A couple of things to keep in mind during this process are: a) don’t edit or censor yourself — let things flow as they will; and b) make sure you really do complete it in a single session. You can sort and analyze later, but put all 100 thoughts down on paper in a single session to start with.
2. Use positive thinking techniques like affirmations, motivational quotes, and inspirational stories as a jumping off point. I can’t begin to count how many times a random quote or a piece of song lyrics have set me off on a train of thought that’s resulted in a new article or the beginnings of a novel.
3. Use the color yellow.
I’ve recently learned that, psychologically speaking, yellow inspires creativity. I’ve always thought my obsession with writing everything on yellow legal pads was just a quirk. I’m actually kind of relieved to know there’s something more to it than just another reason for my family to think I’m weird.
4. Use all of your senses.
I don’t know about you, but I read so much and rely on visual cues so much that there are days I just want to close my eyes and not look at anything for awhile. Being able to engage your other senses is a great way to come up with fresh ideas for creating.
5. Talk to people.
Most people love to talk and share their thoughts. Interview them, ask questions, and really pay attention to what they have to say. Tapping into other peoples’ brain power is a wonderful way to jump-start your own creativity.
I’ve often thought that people who live in the country have a much bigger advantage when it comes to being creative. You can actually hear yourself think out there!
Lately my favorite place to think is by the river. I am very fortunate to live in a city that has a lot of green space and water. So that even when I can’t actually get out of town, I can still find somewhere that’s quiet enough to think and recharge for another week of writing.
7. Last, but definitely not least, take a break when you need to. I read something the other day that said the time to relax is when you think you don’t have time to relax. Putting more stress and pressure on yourself when things aren’t flowing will only lead to more stress and frustration.
Get up and walk away – even if it’s only for five or ten minutes. You’ll find that when you come back the mental cobwebs will have cleared away and you’ll be ready to create again.
Finding your creative spark is an individual journey. We all have our own routines and processes to follow, and what works for me may not work for you. Nevertheless, I hope that these ideas give you some fuel for your own creative engine.