How to Tap into your Creativity Every Day
Updated: Oct 30, 2022
Secretly, many of us wish we were more creative, but you might tell yourself,
"I'm not a creative person," or "I need to wait for inspiration to spark my creativity" or "I have a creative block or writer's block." It can be very frustrating to feel like you want to bring something into reality, but there's nothing coming through! Life can feel very flat and dull.
It's okay, we all have had some of these blocks, but I'm here to let you know your creativity is inside of you, ready to be unleashed, but we need to get rid of some of the roadblocks...
What is creativity?
Simply put, creativity is transforming your ideas into reality. Ideas can sit in your imaginations and longing, but creativity involves thinking and producing. Creativity is something we do.
Creativity is not just delegated to artists. It's a natural part of all of our true nature -- we are naturally creative as children, but as we grow up, we learn to be uncreative. To be able to create means perceiving new ways of seeing the world, finding hidden patterns, and bringing seemingly unrelated phenomena to create solutions, communicate, and entertain. Somewhere down the line, society told you to just listen to the rules and deny yourself. We need to take back our creative power.
"What we play is life." Louis Armstrong
Can creativity improve the wellness and success?
Yes, most definitely. A UK group called the 64 Million Artists has been teaching creative workshops and working with employers to allow staff a half-day off every month to explore their own individual areas of interest. Employees were inspired, engaged, and found more motivation at work. If work places show you that your wholeness is valued, it only makes sense people feel connected to themselves and others, thus more inspired to show up to a community to work.
Are you ready to find your creativity?
Over the last three months of starting my creative adventure and watching my nieces at play, I noticed a few things:
1) Your doubt and fears dampen your creativity
Have you noticed the more you tell yourself,
"You're not creative"
or "I should..."
or "I need to..."
or "It's too late,"
You have a much more difficult time tapping into your creative spirit if you put yourself down or if you're coming from a mindset of fear. Thematically, fear-based thinking affects pretty much in everything we do because thoughts get in the way of almost everything we can achieve.
We often see success without seeing the struggles. In my first few Youtube videos, you can see me grappling with my doubt and fears of quitting my job, moving to a new environment and starting a creative business. I shared this vulnerable part of myself because it is a necessary part of opening the door to ourselves, but just as strong and powerful as these feelings are, when you address and explore them, they subside and you feel confident that you could overcome the next challenge.
When I watch my three and four year old nieces play or make art, they don't put barriers up. They enjoy mushing colors together, getting dirty, and showing us their masterpieces. There's no room for doubt or negative self talk, just unbridled joy and presence.
You cannot force the creativity out, but you have to learn to quiet the mind and allow it to feel safe and free to be curious. To do this, you can start with daily meditations and/or writing to allow your thoughts a place to settle. Julia Cameron, author of "The Artist Way," describes finding it with writing morning pages. These are three pages of longhand writing, strictly steam-of-consciousness. They don't need to be "right" or "sound smart". She states, "The morning pages are the primary tool of creative recovery (pg 11)."
I noticed the more I worked on writing down my absurd and fearful thoughts, the more spaciousness I have in my mind for my feelings and emotions to slowly come out. To be honest, I stopped writing for about a month because I wake up so excited to create, but I'm getting back to them as I've noticed a deep sense of sadness sprouting up randomly during yoga. I could sense there's something sitting in the back of my mind, but I'm not exactly sure why they keep reappearing. Thus, morning pages helps me explore this feeling and continue on with my day of creating.
Learn more about Julia Cameron's process here on NPR.
2) You believe creativity and intelligence are incompatible and even opposite qualities
Logic and scientific inquiry are very much relegated as valuable traits to have, and anything playful, soft, and unstructured is deemed as less valuable. Instead of viewing them both as valuable and different, they're seen at odds with each other.
It doesn't have to be this way.
We need each part of them accessible to us like a light switch. When you only utilize one aspect of yourself, you essentially neglect a crucial part of yourself: your deep inner child. Likewise, if you are only creative and don't accept some logic and strategy, it's also hard to be successful because you're missing structure.
So how do we balance this?
Well, we need to explore what your thoughts are about creativity, success, and intelligence?
What comes up when you see this?
Creativity is _________________.
Creatives are _______________.
My family and friends thinks creativity is ___________________.
Success is __________________.
Successful people are ___________________________.
My family and friends thinks success means __________________.
Intelligence is _______________________.
Intelligent people are _______________________.
Family and friends who I view as intelligent are _______________________.
Here I share some of my beliefs. Do you feel similarly?
Creativity is fun and expresses my emotions, but it's only a hobby.
Creatives are broke.
My family and friends think creativity is stupid and a waste of time.
Success is making money doing what I love.
Successful people are intelligent, often money hungry/egotistical.
My family and friends thinks success means $$$ only, nothing else matters.
Intelligence is multifaceted, but I often thing about hard skills and am coming to learn more about soft skills.
Intelligent people are admired and independent.
Family and friends who I view as intelligent are hard working, persistent, logical, follows through, emotionally intelligent and inspires people to be leaders
So how do we think about this in a balanced way?
I want you to say, "I can be both intelligent and creative. This can help me be more successful as I allow different aspects my abilities to help me improve in all areas of my life."
3) Go play. No vacation time needed.
Just because you're adult, it doesn't mean you have to take life so seriously all the time.
Julia Cameron calls these "Artist Dates", where you go on a once-a-week solo adventure.
I call it "đi chơi ," which is Vietnamese for "go play" or "hang out." Except the goal is to spend time with yourself. It allows you to tap into that vacation experience, where you're at ease and not worried about all the logistics of life. Instead, you get to just embrace life in the moment!
My friend and I have been going to creative reuse stores, thrift shopping, nurseries, and hiking. I often go pet my neighbors' horses and say hi to the alpacas. It's simple, but completely fun and frivolous.
If you don't know what to do, go walk in nature. For decades artists have looked to nature for inspiration. Look at the trees, admire the spring flower popping out. Connect with the beauty in life, it's right here right now.
4) Practice mindfulness
This can be meditation or prayer to quiet your mind. Is this mindfulness thing getting repetitive on my website? It's so important to allow your inner voice to guide you instead of your fears and ego.
Most of our creativity comes when we least expect it, but usually when we're most at ease and not paying attention. You know when you're standing in the shower and enjoy the warm water trickling down your body? When you're in such peace and ease, your best ideas will come. You can train this to occur regularly with mindfulness practices. I highly recommend meditation because anybody can do it. We can do it laying down, sitting, walking, standing in line at the super market, even driving so presently that you almost notice the stillness.
The more at ease my mind is throughout the day, the more imaginative my dreams are since the brain isn't trying to unwind the daily disheveled thoughts. Many of my ideas actually come to me in my dreams... so try to remember yours.
5) Find your community
Share your aspirations. There are other like-minded people out there who have done the same things and can share their wisdom with you. There are people who are successful at this and not only will this encourage you to keep going, but sharing your ideas can help you brainstorm more creations!
I've been especially lucky on my journey because I've been randomly meeting artists and meditators, and have been encouraging others to see their own potential! It's a cycle that never ends.
Good luck, you can do it! Check out my Youtube for more tips to get started and stay motivated.