Over the last few weeks, I have spent some time learning more about media, marketing, writing, and creativity from the website Media Bistro. This site offers great resources for ongoing education in digital marketing, writing and publishing, copywriting, social media, design, public relations, marketing, journalism, and more.
As I was beginning to write my blog about the courses I had taken, it was difficult for me to get started. Though I had a plethora of knowledge to share, putting it down on paper didn’t happen automatically once I finished learning. This brings me to the main course I want to discuss: Ways to Get your Creativity Flowing. This course really stood out to me because I felt like what I learned from it would resonate with a wide variety of people.
This course discussed 50 ways to get your creativity flowing. I won’t go over all 50 ways, but I will mention a few that stuck out to me.
Firstly, part of the creative process is feeling stuck. Sometimes this occurs at the beginning of your creative process, other times, you can feel stuck in the middle of it. Regardless, it’s important to note that this is entirely normal and expected. Creativity doesn’t just happen out of thin air…well, sometimes it does. But, you have to allow yourself to get into a space where creativity can happen. If you’re stressing over a deadline or working on something you’re not particularly passionate about, creativity has to be encouraged and pulled out of ourselves.
There are a number of ways to do this:
1. Make connections
- Find various ways to spark creativity. Think of connections between things that wouldn’t normally go together. Try to find a personal connection to the topic you’re working through. Finding a connection can spark something in our minds to get the creative wheels rolling.
2. Change mindsets
- Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Pretend you are in a different time of life, have a different occupation, etc., then imagine how would that person think about the topic or problem. This forces us to think differently and to step outside our normal thought processes. Another way to change your mindset is to think about how you would approach this if you were advising a friend…how would you help them move forward? And then, follow that advice.
3. Challenge preconceived notions
- Try to think of something that doesn’t seem possible: What is an idea that would never work, or something you think is unattainable? Then, think about what the steps would be to get you there. Figure out how to turn challenges into solutions.
4. Embrace failure
- Write a terrible first draft. Just get something down on paper. Put some main ideas down and you can always build from there later. You can also try writing in a different tone of voice, or try out multiple tones of voice/perspectives and see if any of them stick.
5. Tap into your emotions
- Explore your emotions. Look into yourself and write about something that is on your mind. Sometimes if we have other things happening in our personal lives, it helps to just do a brain dump and write out anything that has been troubling us. This can help to open up space for other ideas and also spark something inside. Brain dumps can also be helpful because they can help us process thoughts that might be otherwise overwhelming/distracting.
- Writing towards a specific emotion can be helpful to get creative, too. If you were curious, excited, nervous, etc. how would you feel and express your emotions in that state?
6. Follow your fear
- Is there an idea you’re scared to try or something you have always wanted to do but never thought possible? Write out 10 things you don’t think would be possible. It’s pretty crazy what can happen if you dream big and pursue your passions.
7. Connect with your body
- Drink water, eat a snack, and make sure that your body and mind are in a position to be able to work efficiently. Stand up and move around, stretch your body, and take breaks as needed. Sometimes when we are trying so hard to get something done, it takes a minute of just bringing ourselves back to the present moment and realizing that everything will get done in due time.
8. Alter time and space
- Put yourself in a different work environment, change your outfit, or even go on a walk. Try to put yourself in nature and see if you can connect to 10 things outside that might inspire your creativity.
9. Refill your reservoir
- Read an article or flip through a magazine. Go to a museum or an art gallery. Free write for 15 minutes—about anything. Sketch or doodle. Take a class or learn something new. Find ways to get inspired and never stop learning. Again, get into nature. It is pretty inspiring how much connecting to nature and being outdoors can open our minds.
10. Be open to collaboration
- Talk through your thoughts with a friend, coworker, or family member. Even striking up a conversation with a stranger can spark a new perspective or idea. Getting outside of your comfort zone inspires new ideas.
The main takeaway I got from the Media Bistro course on creativity was to get outside of my comfort zone: Every so often I need to challenge the way I normally think and go about my daily thought process. This is where the magic happens. Sometimes, it just takes some reminding. Connect to nature and never stop learning and seeking knowledge.