Friday, November 7, 2014

8 Ways to Encourage Creative Ideas

Creativity isn’t so much a matter of finding ideas as it is one of learning to become receptive to them. Creative ideas are all around you. It’s up to you to prepare your mind to see them.

The following eight ways will help you do just that. Practicing one or several of them will ensure that creative ideas begin to flow and stay flowing.

1. Have a fresh mind. Nothing blocks creative thinking like a mind clogged with all sorts of other stuff. Everyday life fills your mind with everything from trivial items, like what to make for dinner, to stress over finding a healthcare provider before the deadline. To get creative ideas to flow, you first have to clear your mind of all extraneous thoughts. That doesn’t mean you should forget them, only that you should put them on the back burner.

2. Meditate. An easy way to clear your mind is to meditate. No, you don’t have to seek out the service of a Indian guru. But you do have to find a quite spot where you can be alone with your thoughts. Go sit in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor and your arms at your sides. Close your eyes, take a deep breath through your nose and hold it for four counts. Then let it out slowly through your mouth while you count back from 10. When you reach 1, let your entire body relax. Imagine yourself in a beautiful place. Let your mind wander. Do this for about 20 minutes a day and soon you’ll find yourself overloaded with creative ideas.

3. Exercise your body. Nothing refreshes your mind like physical exercise. No, you don’t have to join a gym. But a brisk walk will do wonders. While walking, breathe through your nose and exhale through your mouth. This will increase the flow of oxygen to your blood and your brain.
You don’t have to be a long-distance walker—even a half mile will do. But do it regularly.

4. Find an activity that unblocks your creativity. To unblock your creativity and get those juices flowing, find an activity that you enjoy. It has to be something that will encourage your imagination—something besides writing. Perhaps you need to reorganize your storage spaces or plan a new kitchen. Whatever you choose, make sure it requires you to think.

5. Try a change of scene. While some writers think that if they go off in the woods that ideas will come to them and they’ll be able to finish that novel that’s nagging to come to life. But honestly, the same thing can happen working on your laptop while sitting at your kitchen table. However, once in a while it’s good to get away. No, you don’t have to book a flight to a far-off island. But you can get away for a weekend to some place different—some place that will stimulate your mind and inspire creative ideas. This may be a trip down a coal mine to learn how miners endured long, hard days below ground, or it may be a trip to a big city to immerse yourself in its cultural sights. Wherever your go and whatever you do will spark bring you back home refreshed and full of creative ideas.

6. Experience new things. Along with getting away, you may want to try new things. If you’ve never flown before, book a flight. Or perhaps take skiing or mountain-climbing lessons. If adventure isn’t your bag, then try something that’s more to your liking, such as trying new foods or experiencing a new, intense culture.

7. Seek out creative people. Nothing brings out your creative side like hanging out with other creative people. See if there’s any sort of creative/artistic group in your area that you can join. Take classes—either writing or other artistic subjects. Meet with your classmates for coffee to discuss the class and the subject, and ask them about what they’re doing creatively at the moment. Collaborate with another creative writer on a project. The two of you will encourage each others' creativity thought process.

8. Know when to stop. Above all, no when to stop. Nothing ruins creative flow like going on a binge. Limit the time you pursue creative ideas. The more time you spend at one sitting working on a project, the more limited your creative thought will be. Periodically give your mind a rest by working on something else or even doing household chores. Because while you’re washing last night’s dishes, your subconscious mind will be hard at work on your next batch of creative ideas.

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