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12 Ways to Kickstart Your Creativity

Rooster by Picasso

Creativity ought to be as natural to us as breathing, and when we're in the zone it is: the ideas flow, we see inspiration all around us and solutions present themselves with effortless ease. When we're in touch with our creativity - which is an innate part of our nature, even if we've convinced ourselves to the contrary - there's nothing we need do but ride the wave and have fun seeing where it takes us. It's a gracelike state requiring little effort on our part, and we usually feel invigorated, excited and buzzing with life (a pleasant byproduct of being creative).

But we all go through times when we find ourselves blocked, stuck and stifled. That's when it's necessary to shake things up, blast away the blocks and nurture our creative side. Here are 12 practical and time-tested tips for kickstarting our creativity.

1. Create the necessary time and space

In order to be creative, you need to make sure you have the time and space to actually be creative. It may be almost habitual to fill up every moment of your life with activity, both productive and unproductive. It's necessary to take time out to flex your creative muscles, preferably every single day. Clear some time in your schedule, even if it's just 10-15 minutes a day. Guard that time and be aware of any tendency to procrastinate. Procrastination is the number one enemy of creativity. Ask yourself why you're procrastinating (often it's out of fear of failure or not being good enough) and commit to overcoming it.

2. Keep a journal

This tip is from Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way which is well worth checking out. She calls them 'morning pages': every morning, you have to write three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing. This can be about absolutely ANYTHING, from problems, ideas, grievances and annoyances, inspiration, plans for the day and all kinds of random and rambling thoughts. You have free reign to spill your mind onto the page. Essentially this works as a kind of "brain drain", freeing up mental energy, relieving tension and enabling you to tap into your inherent creativity. Try it for a month and be amazed. It's well worth getting up 10-15 minutes early to do this. I'm willing to bet that after a few days you'll be hooked.

3. Seek inspiration - fill your artistic well

Julia Cameron also encourages us to go on an "artist's date". This simply means taking time out to give ourselves fresh creative input and stimulation. Creativity needs to be encouraged and nurtured and you can facilitate this by making a specified time to do things that inspire you. Ideas might include going for a long walk on the beach, visiting an antique shop or old bookshop, going to an exhibition or having a latte in your favourite coffee shop while reading up on people who inspire you. It's best to spend this time on your own, so you can give full attention to what you're doing and not get lost in conversation and distraction. Creativity feeds on fresh input, on images, sounds, sensations and new ideas and experiences, so be sure to keep the well filled.

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