Monday, December 3, 2012

Increase Your Creativity: Three Easy Techniques

Creativity (Photo credit: deichgnu)
by Amanda Laughtland

Are you bored? Do you feel stalled-out in your work? Does it seem like you do the same old things every day? Could "writer's block" be the name of the street where you live?

Fortunately, it doesn't take a huge change in your life to break free of usual patterns and find yourself feeling more creative.

Try one or two small exercises in creativity. You might spend ten minutes on an exercise every day for a week-or just start with ten minutes a week and build from there. The idea is to experience the power of small changes, so it's counterproductive if you feel like you're really pushing yourself.

Here are three ideas to get you started:

Visit the Library

Check out a book (or several books) on a topic you love but seldom have time to read about. Explore a hobby you've neglected. Pick up a stack of art books or cookbooks - something you can page through for inspiration. Check out a stack of magazines, maybe National Geographic for its evocative photos, or a DIY magazine like ReadyMade.

Change Your Daily Routine

Experiment with different tiny changes. Pack a tortilla wrap for lunch instead of a cheese sandwich. Walk a different route to the bus stop. Make a phone call instead of watching your usual TV show. Visit a couple of different websites instead of the ones you always check. Wear a color you don't often wear. Get up ten minutes earlier. Drive a different route to the grocery store (or try a new grocery store).

Try Visual Journaling

Rather than (or in addition to) keeping a traditional diary, check out some websites and/or books on "visual journaling" (you'll find several resources if you look up the term in a search engine). The idea is that you incorporate visual elements in a notebook or sketchbook, using any media you enjoy and/or find close at hand.

Sketch a picture from your day. Print out a copy of a photo you took on your cell phone and paste it into your journal. Empty your pockets at the end of the day, and glue various bits of paper into your journal (a parking receipt, a movie ticket stub, a grocery list, etc).

To keep the creativity going, jot down your own list of small ways to encourage creativity by experimenting with small changes in your everyday life. Keep adding to your list, and keep incorporating small changes every week.

Amanda Laughtland is a writer, publisher, and teacher. Her latest project, With Five Questions, is a collection of interviews with artists, authors, musicians, and other creative professionals.

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