Life is full of ups and downs.
Ebbs and flows.
Gives and takes.
Bursts of creativity and periods of rest.
Creativity isn’t something that should be rushed or expected. It’s often surprising. And enlightening.
Last year my first New Year’s Resolution was to boost my creativity as much as I could. And, while I am often my own worst critic, I must say I felt like 2017 was my most creative and professionally exciting year yet.
But after focusing for a year on my own creativity, I’ve learned even MORE ways to boost it effectively. Even when life can get you down…
5 More Ways To Boost Your Creativity
1. Change Your Perspective
“The universe is wider than our views of it.”
One of my favorite quotes from Dead Poet’s Society. In this scene, Robin Williams (playing an english school teacher) stands on his desk and asks his students why.
Why do I stand on my desk?
To see the world from a new place.
Because looking at the world from a different perspective changes how we view it. How we interact with it. How we synthesize it.
One of the best ways I’ve discovered this last year to boost my confidence is just to find a way to view the world differently. To interact with it differently. To break out of my routine and force myself to abrasively change what I do for the simple sake of change.
Some of my favorite ways to change my perspective?
Well, standing on the couch is a good place to start (even if it’ll only show you how dusty your ceiling is). I also love taking a new route on our dog walk, or visiting a place I’ve never been before.
Novelty is incredibly useful when it comes to boosting creativity, so embrace it.
2. Read Fiction
Reading fiction may not sound like the best way to boost your creativity in real-life but it actually has been scientifically proven to boost creativity (#8 on this list of the benefits of reading fiction). It’s funny but the more abstracted from our lives the stories we read are, the more likely they are to resonate with us. And, because fiction novels often have less clean resolutions than fiction movies, it forces our mind to become more creative as we think about an analyze them.
Nonfiction books just don’t make the cut.
In need of a seriously interesting fiction book to read this month? Here are a few of my absolute favorites:
3. Seek Solitude
Solitude seems to almost feel like a bad word in our society.
Many are afraid of it.
We live in a world where we’re constantly connected to one another, always available, never alone.
But recharging on our own is very necessary. And essential — especially for introverts. Once we’re recharged we can solve problems and projects more creatively and more effectively.
For most of us though, we don’t even really know HOW to be alone anymore. It’s daunting, especially in the social-driven world we live in these days.
Meditations, breathing exercises, a walk alone (in the forest like the Japanese do, perhaps) all help us to tap the internal creativity we all have welling inside of us.
Try to be alone for one hour. Don’t make plans. Don’t combine the hour with exercise or other activities.
Just let the moment unfold and see where it takes you. I often find my very BEST ideas come after long periods of being alone and now I schedule those times into my week just as I would anything else.
4. Do Something That Makes You Uncomfortable
This goes hand-in-hand with #1 on this list and for good reason.
Routines may be comfortable but they’re also rife with stagnation. Sometimes, the only way out of the suffocating spiral is to do something new intentionally because it makes you uncomfortable.
I remember shooting at the top of the Cremona Cathedral on our last afternoon in Italy. We were exhausted, overstuffed (it’s WAY too easy to overeat in Italy), and in great need of a nap. But instead we decided to book it up the 512 steps to the top of the bell tower to watch the sunset.
(P.s. the Cremona Cathedral is THE TALLEST BELL TOWER IN ITALY).
I remember the last leg of the climb was a dilapidated spiral metal staircase going up three stories. Being scared of heights I shook violently as I climbed. Half way up — I froze. I couldn’t do it. My body was literally violently shaking and just holding on took all my courage. Luckily Annie and Jared encouraged me on, telling me the climb was worth the view.
So step by step I violently shook as I climbed.
And the moment I reach the top, the view literally took my breath away.
I mean, I didn’t have much breath left in me to be sure. But it was one of the most beautiful, singularly stunning views of my life. All bathed in the golden glow of the setting October sun.
And I got some of the best shots from the entire trip there (including the top photo of Jared in this post).
If I hadn’t challenged my fears, I wouldn’t have seen it at all. And the shots I got at the top will undoubtedly be some of my favorites in my whole portfolio for years to come.
Challenge yourself to do something that makes you uncomfortable — you’ll be amazed at the results!
5. Seek Out Inspiration
Inspiration comes from all sorts of places: a great cookbook, a vibrant Pinterest board, a delicious trip (abroad or at home), a well-cured gallery exhibit, a brilliant conversation with a good friend.
Inspiration itself is worth seeking out.
But especially because of how it affects our creativity. The more inspiration we surround ourselves with, the more inspiration we exude ourselves.
So whatever inspiration works for you, seek it out.
Seek it out with conviction and determination.
Become obsessed with finding it everywhere you go and you’ll be amazed how creative you feel on a daily basis.