Creativity: 4 quick ways to get it in gear

Audi A4 gearshift

As promised in my last post, I’m giving you 4 ways you can shift your creative self into “drive” when you feel like you’re stuck in “park.”

  • Timed writing
    The hardest part of writing for most people is getting started. So let’s make this easy — start anywhere.  Decide how long you’re going to write (10-15 minutes is more than enough), then just pick up a writing instrument of some sort and start scribbling or tapping out whatever comes to mind. It can be anything. Write about how you had to rifle through the junk drawer to find this stupid pen and now the drawer won’t close right anymore. Riff on how your boss annoys the bejeezus out of you when he chews like a cow during lunch meetings. Contemplate your navel in prose.  Whatever works – just keep writing for the full amount of time.
  • Try out a new medium
    Drop the pen and grab something else to create with, preferably something completely unfamiliar.  Paint with your fingers. Mold something out of Play Doh.  Make a sculpture with some old wire.  Make a picture with old scraps of material. Put together a collage. Dig through the recycling bin and build something with what you find.  Arrange flowers. Open the fridge and see what you can make from there.  The possibilities are endless, so go try a few and see what happens.
  • Play with associations
    This one’s a little harder, but it’s good to stretch the brain once in a while. Pick two completely different objects, concepts, etc., and try to make comparisons. How are they the same?  For example, there is a calendar and a box in my kitchen — they both hold things (one holds appointments, the other holds objects).  A candle and a tree both generally burn from the top down.  A chair and a ball are both… umm…. Well, you get the idea. It doesn’t always work, but it’s worth the try.
  • Find uncommon uses for common things
    You probably do this one all the time but never really pay attention to it.  Have you ever used a dime when you didn’t have a  screwdriver handy?  Used a piece of cardboard instead of a dustpan? See, you’re already halfway there on this one.Take a look around. What else can you use for a different purpose?

See? Nothing difficult, nothing painful.  But all creative. Each of these exercises can be done with fairly common household items and the tiny little chunks of time.  If you have time enough to read this blog, you have time enough to try at least one of these.

Which ones work best for you?

Colleen Clifford

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