6 Steps to Improve Creativity
Do you have a specific creative process that works for you? Or do you just wing it hoping for that flash of brilliance that will just flow effortlessly into your mind and take shape on its own? I think many of us have a basic misconception of how the creative process works…at least I did, for longer than I’m willing to admit. There is that fortunate 1% of the population that just wakes up with a full-fledged business plan or claim that their novels wrote themselves, but for the rest of us it isn’t quite that simple. Clinging to that hope that we will be miraculously guided to some grand inspired action with no effort on our part is unproductive at the least.
It is disheartening to contemplate all of the potential creative break-throughs that have never seen the light of day, because their “creator” was too busy waiting for ideas to drop out into his lap! The good news is…You can actually “work” at cultivating creativity. The process that works for one person, does not work for everyone.
A Better Creative Process
Again, this is just a template of an effective creative process to get you started. Adapt, revise, and personalize to suit your personality and creative style. The most important “step” is to start and use the process to jump-start and allow your creativity to flow and bloom.
1. Creative Awareness
As you move through your day simply, pay attention to what is going on around you. Observe and recognize all the things you’d like to change, improve, or create. Trust me if something bugs you, it’s probably annoying other people as well. When you find yourself thinking, “I wish I could change that, I wish this worked differently or there’s got to be a better way,” that’s an opportunity for creativity.
2. Capture Ideas
Many of us have lots of inspired ideas or creative solutions, but when the time comes to develop them further, we forget what they were. Don’t trust your memory. Millions of fabulous concepts have been lost in the abyss of the busy person’s mind. Capture or record all of your insights, even tiny sparks of the beginning of an idea. How you do it doesn’t matter. Some use a notebook, some make notes on their mobile phone, others use voice recording. I once read about an author who wrote his entire book on napkins. Whatever works.
Set aside a regular block of time to choose an idea off your list that appeals to you and brainstorm. Consider possible obstacles, feasibility, financial and time commitment and usefulness. How could you make your idea a reality? What actions would be necessary? Will it really make a difference in your life or improve the lives of others? Relegate those ideas that don’t make the cut to the trash pile or the “someday” folder is they need to stew a bit longer.
Tell someone about your ideas. Get feedback and ask for help. A different perspective can shine a light on potential difficulties or help you explore new possibilities. The familiar saying, “Two heads are better than one,” most definitely applies here. Better yet, gather several friends, find a mentoring, or mastermind group.
Do something to get the ball rolling. Take some kind of action, anything to move your idea forward. It is far too easy to just let your ideas sit, waiting for the right time to come along. Once you actively start creating or working on your concept, it becomes real and tangible. So, do something…anything.
Don’t cling so tightly to your original idea that you leave no room for deviation. As you learn and try things, shifting may well be necessary. Rarely do we plot the course of a project from inception to fruition without having to make adjustments along the way. It just means that we are learning.
Creative pursuits should be fun and engaging, but it still requires effort. Find the creative process that works for you. Experiment, adjust, and try again. The critical take-away is that usually highly successful, prolific people have a process that they use to foster their creative spark.