You know you are a creative being. We all have the ability to do original work and to make new connections between ideas, which is the key dynamic of the creative process. Yet, we are also well aware that sometimes our creativity stalls, plays tricks on us, or appears to have vanished completely. It is at those moments that we need to reconnect with our exuberance for our creative process or project. We need to leverage our inspirational powers to stimulate our ability to innovate. The following tips are meant to arouse your natural creative gifts so that you can surmount the challenges in your creative journey and achieve your best results.
1. Keep a daily excitement list detailing why you are passionate about and committed to your exploration or creative project. What fascinates you and intrigues you about the topic? Why is it compelling to you personally? How does it matter to other people or to the larger world?
2. Visualize your end result and make a collage of images that support your vision, and then post this collage where you can see it regularly. Let the visual images help you to be as specific as possible in identifying the “essence” of what you want to invent.
3. Take a field trip relating to your project to explore a particular facet of it. One of my clients was fascinated by gorillas for some unknown reason, and went to the zoo for a day without a clue about what she was looking for. While sitting with the gorillas, they reminded her of the power of non-verbal communication–the missing ingredient in her unfinished painting.
4. Collect words that inspire you or relate to your project and write them on note cards so you can play with them. Move the words around to make designs or sentences that stimulate new linkages. Then, change them as needed to be effective.
5. Start off your creative sessions with inspiring music, selected to reflect the mood of the piece you are working on. Music is a natural high and can inspire your muse. Listening to the same music during an entire project trains your mind to tune into the content quickly and deeply–almost like in a trance.
6. Exercise regularly to clear your head and stimulate your brain chemistry. Dance, run, walk, or swim–whatever you enjoy most– and reap the benefits of shifting your mental and physical energy. Many creative people get their best ideas while practicing movements.
7. Think of your project as an experiment and write up three hypotheses. Then try them on as templates with your content. Often, even the most outlandish ideas can reap new perspectives and clever twists.
8. Experience your project using the three learning styles of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic dimensions:
a) Draw picture of it, make a mind-map of it, or take a photo of it and tinker with it on Photoshop
b) Talk about your project into a tape/video recorder or teach a real/pretend class on the topic to your friends or to an imaginary audience.
c) Create a one-scene play and act it out with props, costumes, and maybe even other characters you invite in to participate with you
9. Go to a toy store and find a toy that reminds you of your project/process. Spend some time playing with the toy and write down all the metaphors you discover. A stuffed giant caterpillar once guided me to organize a project into interlocking, but flexible sections, similar to the body of a caterpillar.
10. Practice suspension–suspend all judgments and send your inner critic on vacation. Give yourself the freedom to make mistakes and take positive risks with your work. If you were fearless about your creative process, what “out on a limb” strategies would you try next?
11. Change your location or some aspect of your work environment. Work on your project in bed or outside in nature or in a museum. Move your desk or easel to a different corner of your office, changing your viewpoint. Write in pen instead of typing or print out your project on wild paper or gather relevant illustrations and see what they contribute to your conceptualization.
12. Find a symbol of your creativity and keep that object with you when you create. It can be a prosperity stone, a dramatic painting on the wall, or a special jacket that you wear. Draw strength and encouragement from this tangible support.
13. Keep a special journal for each project so that you can capture your new thoughts, emotional traumas and dramas, and trace the key threads of your creative unfolding.
14. If you continue to feel burned out or blocked, you may need a vacation. In my research on creativity, many people tapped into their creative genius while relaxing. It could be simply lying at the beach or meditating, but for some people, it is a total change of scenery. Go someplace that intuitively draws you. As creative conduits, we need to honor our fascinations and follow their lead. Above all, enjoy your creativity. Regularly tapping into your innovative, uncensored child-like self is a powerful catalyst against creative blocks of all kinds. Your inner spirit has the answers. Open up your creative window and invite your inspirations to come in to dance with you!