Have you ever wondered how to be more creative? Ever longed to paint whimsical landscapes, invent a useful gadget, or unleash your creativity through music?
Creativity is illusive. It can feel like some people have the creativity gene, and others don’t.
The research reveals something different. Science shows us that “… in many ways, we are all wired to create,” say researchers Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire. “The key is recognizing that creativity is multifaceted.” In fact, many psychologists argue that creativity isn’t something we’re born with, it’s a skill we learn. This crucial understanding is the first step to figuring out how to express your creativity.
So, how do highly-creative people unlock that sense of wonder? It turns out, there is a technique that can help to unleash your creativity. We collected 10 easy habits from creative geniuses throughout the ages to help you express your creativity today.
How to Unleash Your Creativity: 10 Creative Habits That Will Change Your Life
1. Find Your Groove
J.K. Rowling wrote several portions of the Harry Potter series in a cafe in Edinburgh, Scotland. Isabel Allende prefers to start writing her novels on January 8. From composers to actors and circus performers, every creative individual has their own, unique method. Your job is to discover what routine is beneficial for the creative side of your brain.
Paul McCartney and John Lennon co-wrote Beatles songs for decades. Choreographer Martha Graham developed a lasting collaboration with visual artist Isamu Noguchi. Most great television show scripts are written by diverse teams of people. A strategic collaborator will bring new ideas and fresh energy to your projects. Working with a partner or group can open doors you never even knew were there.
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Songwriter Tom Waits once said, “I like turning on two radios at the same time and listening to them. I like hearing things incorrectly. I think that’s how I get a lot of ideas, by mishearing something.” Develop your awareness by listening, seeing, feeling, and reflecting. Let the world around you reveal the creative possibilities.
4. Build Your Environment
Mark Parker, the CEO of Nike, fills his corporate office with art, guitars, high-tech gadgets, and toys. Composer Morten Lauridsen writes renowned choral compositions with an out-of-tune piano on a tiny island in the Pacific Northwest. What environment speaks to you? It might be a bare room or a crowded cafe. It might be a dance studio or a forest. Experiment and find a place you love that helps you learn how to express your creativity.
5. Do It Wherever You Are
Author E.B. White often wrote in his living room, where he described a “carnival” of activity. In theory, it wasn’t an ideal place to write. But he said, “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” Remember that there is no perfect time or place. Life is noisy and crowded, and options may be limited. In that case, practice your music or write your novel wherever you are.
“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” – E.B. White
6. Be a Thief
Writer Austin Kleon says, “Don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes.” We are granting you the permission to free yourself from the chains of original creativity. Instead, embrace inspiration to unleash your creativity. Loosen up, look around you, and allow yourself to be influenced by the leaders in your field.
7. Surround Yourself With Good Stuff
Choreographer Twyla Tharp avidly absorbs the world around her. She says, “Reading, conversation, environment, culture, heroes, mentors, nature – all are lottery tickets for creativity. Scratch away at them and you’ll find out how big a prize you’ve won.” You are the creative sum of what you surround yourself with. Read great books, listen to music, see wonderful plays, seek out museums, and spend time with people who inspire you.
8. Be Unstoppable
The world-famous comedian Eddie Izzard was a modest street performer for almost a decade. By his own account, he was terrible. It took him nearly 10 years to discover stand-up comedy, and then learn how to be funny. Remember that no one is a master of their craft on day one. It takes a relentless determination to keep going, and keep improving, no matter what. Your job is to continue making art, playing music, coming up with ideas, and doing the work you care about in the face of fear, failure, and rejection.
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9. Make It a Habit
Picasso famously said: “Action is the foundational key to all success.” And novelist Gustave Flaubert supported the message: “Be regular and orderly in your work, so that you may be violent and original in your work,” Innovators of all disciplines know that creativity is an act of habit, not inspiration. Creativity is about coming back to your work, day after day. It’s about sitting down to the piano, going into the dance studio, and writing another page of the novel, even when you don’t feel like it.
10. Do It Your Own Way
Author Austin Kleon lives by this creative manifesto: “Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.” You are a true original, and there is nobody out there who can do the work that you’re meant to do. Start today, pave your own path, and create for a lifetime.
There is no blueprint for creativity. We hope that these 10 habits can help you unleash your creativity and pursue that next passion project with confidence. From Picasso to John Lennon, take these professional tips and apply them to your learning journey.
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