6 Easy Ways to Boost Creativity
1. Reward Curiosity
Follow your curiosity. Use Google and Bing to find out about your interests. Follow the rabbit trail for a bit (use a timer to keep you from spending too much time – coming from someone who has been known to follow rabbit trails the length of Texas and back). Save the info you find on a jump drive, folder on your computer, in the “cloud” (see #2) or save your written notes in file folders or a binder. Keep up with what you find.
2. Capture Ideas
I am addicted to Evernote. There, I said it. It’s out. I use it incessantly. When I find something online that may possibly, even remotely, spark an idea or help me with research or inspires me, I save it to Evernote.
I also use my journal. I keep one by my bed so that A) when I can’t sleep, I can write down the ideas that are bouncing around in my mind, B) when I wake up with a thought, I can capture it before “life” sets in for the day.
If you are so inclined, you could record your ideas. I’ve even text messages myself when that was all I could do to keep up with my ideas.
3. Think in Images
Pinterest has private boards now, which is great! Create a board for your current project, for your ideas about a character, a song, a play, a movie, a sculpture. Here’s an example of the image board I created for one of my upcoming books. Don’t want to use Pinterest? Create an image board on a bulletin board, a poster, an open space on your wall. Make a collage.
4. “Tune” up
Pandora, Slacker, Reverbnation’s “Rabbit Hole.”
Find a song that sets the tone for your current project or a song that motivates you or calms you. Whatever direction you need to move in, there will be a song that fits it. Enter your song title or the artist into Pandora or Slacker, and these will build a ‘station’ for you. I set a station on Pandora for Louis Prima while I was working on my upcoming novel, Lotierie, and it kept me motivated and grounded in the setting.
Reverbnation‘s “Rabbit Hole” is interesting. You play a song, and when it finishes, the site will choose another song that is connected in some way to the previous one and play it, then another connected in some way – you are falling down the rabbit hole!
5. Make Connections
Take the ideas you’ve captured, the images that have inspired you, the songs that are putting you in the moment and make a mind map or a flow chart. Write down your ideas, and make connections between them. Think in terms of ‘what if’ – ‘what if’ this character did this? ‘What if’ that character and the situation was set here or there? Map it all out, don’t erase. There’s plenty of time for editing and censoring later. Put all the ideas and connections down on paper. See what you come up with.
6. Take the Road Less Traveled
Put yourself in unfamiliar territory. Start a new project. Meet new people. Have a new experience. You’ll set yourself up for new ways of thinking, new ways of experiencing your surroundings and improve your awareness, which boosts your creativity!
Bonus: Smell. Yep, kick that next sense into action. Smells, fragrances, odors, they all can spark a memory, an idea. Think freshly sharpened pencils, homemade bread baking in the oven, fresh lavender sprigs in a vase, night blooming jasmine growing next to the porch swing on a summer night.
What are some ways you get your creativity flowing? Leave a comment and let me know!