Is creativity a skill or a talent?
Are we born inclined to use our creative brain over our analytical brain, or do we choose?
Most people agree that creativity is neither skill or talent. However, to access your creativity, you need to harness the powers of problem-solving.
Creativity is a beautiful feeling, instantly elevating your energy and enthusiasm. Many people report that the most alive they ever felt is when they were creative.
But what happens when we need to be creative but can’t find the spark?
What if our ideas are outdated and nothing seems to flow in the right direction?
It can be a scary feeling, mainly if your livelihood depends on it.
Artists, writers, inventors, designers, and many other creative types depend on keeping the creative spark going.
There are countless articles with excellent yet straightforward suggestions on how to boost creativity. However, today we will focus on specific techniques. Not all will agree with your lifestyle or personality. But try some out and see if you can benefit from our suggestions.
Are you ready?
It is normal, natural, and even expected that most of us will choose the path of the least resistance. We expand on existing ideas and use the information we already have at hand.
What if we try to do something different?
What if we set limits?
Research indicates that if we place limits and restrictions on our creative process, it can help us squeeze more out of the process. Limitations create an environment of structured creativity and help the brain focus.
A famous example of this technique is Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham.
Dr. Seuss took a bet from his editor to produce an entire book using less than 50 words.
Many writers use this technique but not to the extreme scenario of finishing an entire book using only 50 words. A more natural way to experiment with limitations is to pick 20 words than need to make an appearance in your first chapter.
Get creative with your self-imposed restrictions and see where it takes you. Your brain will automatically adjust to the limits and begin creating new ways to complete the task.
Re-Focus on the Problem
Creative work is all about capturing the attention of the user.
For example, if you are writing about Technology companies, you are likely to be continually thinking about how you can create content that gets the most shares, right?
What if you step back and examine the article from a different perspective for a minute?
Instead of thinking ‘shares,’ think ‘value.’
Value is harder to create, but the results will be above your expectations.
In other words, the problem you are trying to solve in this case would not be ‘lack of shares’ but ‘lack of value.’
Re-focus your attention on a different problem and see how your creativity will drive you down a different path.
Place Mental Distance Between You and The Task
Sure, that sounds strange. How can distancing ourselves from a project help our creativity?
There is a lot of research that suggests that abstaining from something allows us to create faster breakthroughs.
Creating a mental distance from a problem can help us solve it faster. This is why it is exponentially more comfortable for a therapist to advise us on something than someone in our close environment.
Mental and even physical distance helps people gain insight into a problem. This is likely because we can take a look at the ‘bigger picture’ in place, instead of being fixated on the details.
We can name this process by accessing a ‘higher level of thinking.’
How can you apply this to writing?
A simple method is to assume the role of someone who is advising the writer about the project. What would that person have to say?
How does that person understand the problem?
Healthy amounts of procrastination are expected and even welcomed for the creative process.
Creativity cannot be forced under any circumstances.
Several studies support that daydreaming or picking up another task in the middle of an existing project allows the brain to decompress.
Our subconscious does a lot of work without our permission.
We all know about the fantastic stories of founders and creators who created an empire based on an idea they had while showering!
It sounds counter-productive, but daydream. Take time to look up possible vacation spots for your next adventure. Look up weird science news and take your mind on a walk.
When you return to work, creativity will be heightened.
Welcome the Absurd
Research suggests that learning about something weird can help boost creative thinking.
A good science fiction book can also have the same effect. It forces our thinking process to go in directions we never considered before. If you are not feeling the ‘reading’ experience, go for a sci-fi movie.
While you immerse yourself in the weirdness of fictional situations, your brain will be working overtime, trying to make sense of what you are reading or seeing.
New synapses are created in the process, and unique thought patterns lift your creativity to new highs.
Try reading short stories. I like to think of weird short stories like ‘mind desserts.’ Little treats with lasting mental flavor, and an extra boost of energy.
Mind Your Timing
Yes, most of the planet wakes up at 6 am to be at work by 8 am, works whether they feel like it or not until 6 pm and returns home.
This type of lifestyle is a killer for creative workers.
Do not feel pressure to sit in front of your computer and write at 8 am, unless you genuinely are a morning person.
Many writers can write something in four hours or optimize their time by learning when they are in the best mood and finish the same task in two hours instead.
Use the process of counterfactual thinking, which means looking at a situation and asking yourself what another potential ending could have been?
This can provide a short creative boost when you are stuck or experiencing writer’s block.
Expand on this concept and consider the same scenario but take out one element. Perhaps a leading character. Or do the opposite, where you add another leading role to the plot.
Are you feeling stuck?
Ask a ‘What if’ question and let your brain do the rest.
Avoid brainstorming with other people. Science shows that when people congregate, they produce a lower quality of work because of a lack of accountability.
If you have to brainstorm with other people, opt for digital brainstorming. According to research, it works better than physical brainstorming as people are more aware of what they type than what they say.
Do you have any strange techniques that boost your creativity?