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Are you the friend who repeatedly botches Pinterest projects, hates having to decorate anything, and never had talents for the talent shows in grade school?
Contrary to the messages blasted through our screens and speakers, you can learn how to be more creative.
Sure, people are born with natural talents. Queen Bey could probably dance her butt off fresh out the womb. Picasso was a master painter by age 8. Mozart was playing FOUR instruments by age FOUR. Seriously, who does that?
Unless you’re in the big leagues with those creators, it’s easy to feel inadequate, boring, and basic AF. Fight those feelings! The natural gifts of those icons doesn’t mean that your own creativity can’t be learned, nurtured, and improved.
In fact, it can! You can take steps toward being more creative today. Starting right now.
If you want to tap into your creative side, you’re in the right place because I’m going to share some of my favorite methods with you.
Pin me to come back to this post later!
How Can a person Learn to Be more Creative?
Creativity as a muscle
One day, I was listening to a podcast and heard an idea that I immediately connected with. (For the life of me, I can’t remember which podcast it was because I was driving. But I promise if I remember, I’ll update this post!)
Anyway, the idea I heard was about thinking of creativity like a muscle. If you exercise your creative muscle, it grows and becomes stronger. If you don’t, it withers away.
All of us are born with the creative muscle inside us, but we have to use it in order to get the most out of it.
Creativity as a force
Believe it or not, there are people who actually study creativity as a science. Yep, that’s a real thing to do. The results and theories they’ve come up with are intriguing, to say the least.
Some of the folks who study creativity suggest that creativity is a force or state of consciousness that exists separately from our logical thoughts.
This theory explains why children are more freely creative and imaginative. They don’t let ANYthing (or anyone…parents included) block their creative pathways.
We adults should probably allow our creative force and energy to run free more often.
10 Fun Ways to Be More creative, starting today!
1. Take an in-person class or an online course
If you want to learn or improve upon a new creative skill, the resources are literally endless.
And I’m not even saying “literally” in the millennial-ese sense; I literally mean, LITERALLY.
Michaels, the popular arts & crafts store, often offers free classes for all kinds of activities, like painting, drawing, cake decorating, jewelry-making… Okay, now you’re thinking to yourself, “Meg, I’m grown. I don’t have time to play around with beads at Michael’s.”
Well, a grown person whose goal is to create an Etsy shop, e-commerce website, or physical store where they sell their own jewelry might actually benefit from these free classes.
If you don’t know what it is you’re interested in, free classes like these are a great way to figure it out.
Luckily for us millennials, there are also tons of online websites where you can learn hundreds of creative skills from the comfort of your own couch. Trade a night of Netflix and Hulu for a few hours on Coursera, Skillshare, or Udemy. People even sell classes on Etsy now!
2. read books about boosting creativity
Reading can be inspiring in itself, but inspiration is only productive if it leads to action.
Spending too much time consuming reduces time spent creating, and what’s our 2018 mantra? Consume less. Create more!
With that being said, there are so many amazing books out there for creatives like you!
3. try bullet Journaling
Quick and dirty overview: A bullet journal is a planner-scheduler-to do list maker-journal-doodle book all in one. People get SUPER creative with these things and you can too, if that’s your style.
If you just want to get more organized without all the frills, a bullet journal can still be a great option to consider.
4. Do the 30 circles test
Anyway, to complete the 30 circles exercise, you start with a pencil and a sheet of paper with 30 circles of the same size.
You then have 1 minute to turn as many circles as you can into recognizable objects. Think: sun, moon, smiley face…
The emphasis here is on quantity – how many circles you transform – rather than quality.
Afterwards, a discussion about patterns, rule-breaking, and unique approaches to the exercise helps shed light on how people think about certain tasks.
If you want to try this exercise, click here for a PDF of the 30 circles challenge template. This would be a great way to jumpstart your creativity, overcome writer’s block, or break the ice at a group function.
5. switch up your surroundings
Go for a stroll outside (preferably) or through the halls if you work in an office.
Walking and enjoying nature are excellent ways to generate and process creative ideas.
Print out some pictures or quotes that inspire you and hang them up on your walls.
Enjoy your new, motivating setup!
6. create something without self-critiquing at. all.
Remember those creativity scientists I mentioned? Well, some of them believe creativity comes more easily to children because the logical parts of a child’s brain isn’t developed enough to interfere with the creative parts. Can I order that for adults?
I’ll speak for myself and tell you that I’m my own biggest critic by far, but I know that many of you can definitely relate. Because we’re so tough on ourselves, we’re always critiquing (or criticizing) the things that we do and the work that we produce.
That’s helpful in many ways, but in some ways it’s also counterproductive.
So try this: Draw a picture, write a story, heck, create a meme and do not critique yourself at all.
Just Let go. Let it flow.
7. practice the art of storytelling
The art of storytelling is relevant to every single aspect of life, which makes it an invaluable creative skill to learn.
Not to mention, people PAY for stories!
Your long FB rant? A story. That Twitter thread you retweeted? A story. Drunken snapchat rant? A hilarious story.
Study the way your favorite storytellers get their messages across and practice telling your own stories through social media or talking with your friends and families.
8. surround yourself with art that inspires you
This one’s simple. If you find pictures, music, books, speeches, poems, brochures, WHATEVER that really speak to you, save them, print them out, and keep them within your reach.
Some people prefer a more minimalist environment. That’s okay.
Keep your inspirational art in a drawer or in a note on your phone and visit them when you’re in need of a creative boost.
I keep these pictures I took when I traveled to Spain in a set of frames at work.
9. don’t force it
Don’t you hate it when you have a CRAZY dream and you want to tell your friend about it, but as soon as you start to explain it, the memory slips away from you? It’s on the edge of your brain, but you can’t seem to get a grasp on it.
And the harder you try to remember, the more quickly the memory fades away.
Creativity is like that dream. If you force it, you’re going to chase away your creative energy and discourage yourself. So don’t.
10. think creatively about creativity
Let’s do a quick word association. When you hear the word “creative” what comes to mind? Painting? Drawing? Building?
What images come to mind? An eclectic looking woman sitting at a coffee shop with a pen in hand? A quirky looking guy singing at a bar? A muralist creating a masterpiece?
These are typical associations we make because of what we see in movies, TV shows, commercials.
Here’s a challenge: we should all expand the way we think about creativity.
You can be creative at a 9-5. You can be creative as an entrepreneur. You can be creative in your side hustle. You can be creative in your leisure time.
Think creatively about how you can incorporate creativity into your daily life.
It's levels to this.
Then you work towards making that balance happen.