Creativity is a complex, multi-faceted process. Many myths have grown up around the process, one of which is that creative people have no say in the matter; that somehow creativity strikes certain people and misses others. Nothing could be further from the truth. Creativity can be developed, sharpened, amplified, because it is a factor of nurture as well as nature.
1. Believe You Are Creative
Everyone is. Or has the potential to be. It is part of being human.
2. Broaden Your Interests
Consciously seek out what you have not sought out before. Be open to new experiences, new sources of information.
3. Prepare to Create
Gather information, hunches, impressions, colors, textures, sounds. Keep Notes!
4. Look for (or, better still, make) Connections.
The more varied your interests, the greater the chance of cross-fertilization; of combining two or more things that have not been combined before. Look for relationships between things that are not related.
5. Break Habits.
Our own habits are what often keep us from being more creative. The more you follow the script, the less you can improvise. Breaking even little habits can shake up the system enough to allow new connections to happen, new points of view to form.
6. Provide the Right Environment (for you).
Some people like to listen to music, others prefer silence once they are in the creative flow. Experiment until you find what works for you.
7. Provide Time To Create
(1) Time to sleep on it. Time without your conscious manipulation. Time for seemingly random thoughts and bits of input to percolate and bump into each other. (2) Time away from the immediate demands of work and/or home, dedicated to the creative task at hand. In certain environments, time is so precious that this seems like an unrealistic element of developing your creativity. But even five minutes could make a difference.
Don't give up on yourself or your project. Creativity is not necessarily easy. Make lots of mistakes. Learn from them. It is to be expected. It is a part of the process. Keep going. There is a paradox here because sometimes an important part of being creative is knowing when to abandon an unproductive idea.
9. Maximize All Of Your Senses
The more you utilize all of your senses to gather and process information, the greater the chance of those bits of ideas bumping into each other . . . and sticking together to create a new something.
10. Forget How Much You Know.
Adopt the beginner's mind. Conventional wisdom may say this or that cannot be done and then unconventional wisdom goes right ahead and does it. Learn to look at things with a fresh eye. Don't be afraid to ask the "dumb" questions.
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