How to get your creative juices flowing

trying to be creative

An astounding 9/10 Australians say that they would like to be more creative. Just kidding — that is a completely made up statistic. However I am sure that a majority of people would like to either:

a) Think of themselves as creative or
b) Dedicate more time to creative exploration

What’s the problem?

The truth is, most of us in our usual day to day routines are not required to be creative. Many career paths that provide true opportunities to be artistic are highly competitive and perceived to be impractical life choices — though there are some lucky ducks out there.

For the rest of us, there are processes and policies in place to keep us productive and focused. In occasions when processes are unclear and we are faced with ambiguity, using creativity to solve problems isn’t always the ideal course of action. We may face resistance from colleagues and backlash from management. There is a degree of risk when exploring creativity in some work environments which stunts the artistic, eccentric human and replaces them with a mechanized, calculated worker bee. And to be honest, this is much the nature of life and of the society in which we live. So if you can’t change it right now, accept it. There are other ways you can find the stimulus you are seeking.

First steps

Find your craft. Many of us know the creative activities that we would most enjoy doing. Examples: Blogging, vlogging, painting, drawing, writing, web design, photography, music, etc. Need more ideas? Here is an awesome list.

Organise your time. Start using a calendar for your personal life (I recommend separating from your work calendar). Schedule your time both on weekdays and on weekends. It will help keep you accountable. If you really can’t do it during one of the times you booked, reschedule it. Do what you have to do to get in the zone. Make a coffee. Have a glass of wine. Lay out blankets and art supplies in your garage.

  • Finding the time to dedicate to your creative ventures will be critical to your satisfaction. I know you’re looking at this and thinking that you don’t have the time. But really, you won’t need more than a few hours a week to begin your journey. It’s all about what works for you.
  • Be realistic and allow yourself time to relax as well. As long as you are committing some time to creative efforts, even 15–20 minutes a day for most days of the week, you will see incremental growth in the form of new creations and skills — tangible things you can share with others.

Allocate some space to your newfound creative time. Make it functional with any supplies you may need and respect the sanctity of this zone.

  • Eliminate distractions such as clutter and technology (unless your craft requires a computer or something).

You: “Ok, but I can’t come up with anything!”

Do regular brainstorming sessions to ramp up your neurons. Even if nothing comes from these little games, you’ll be exercising your thinking abilities.

  • Set a timer for two minutes and start coming up with all the clever business names or logos you can think of.

Browse the web for inspiration and tutorials in your area of interest, including blogs, Behance for design, Pinterest for illustration and all kinds of art, Github for programming, etc.

Download apps to help give you exposure to areas you’d like to explore or collect information.

  • Google Primer is a mobile app to help users learn new business and digital marketing skills.
  • Use Pocket to create a personal repository for articles and other artsy inspiration you find on the web.

Sometimes, we are overwhelmed by the endless possibilities in front of us. Try to make “rules” or limits to whatever you are doing. In the book “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon, he says “Creativity is Subtraction”, for example, try and use only 2 colours while doing a painting. You might be surprised how restrictions can make our creative senses tingle…

Image: Pablo Picasso’s Bone and Shadow — a renowned and beautiful work of art done without colour.

A lot of it is just about having some discipline and getting inspired.

  • To equip you for your trek into creativity, read this book. I found it pretty powerful and it had fun visuals — plus it is short and only takes about three hours to finish.
Image source:

Hope you enjoyed and feel empowered to start making commitments towards a more creative life.