Blog, Creativity

Jumpstart Creativity: Try Something New

I’ve been talking about how to become more creative.  If you missed the previous post, You ARE Creative: tips on how you can become more creative now, click HERE to read.  It will get you fired up and ready to try something new … which is what we’re talking about today!  So let’s get started!

Our brains are so complex.  It’s been said that they are more powerful and faster than the most current supercomputers.  And the synapses in a single brain number more than the number of galaxies in the observable universe, and more the stars contained in the Milky Way galaxy!!!  Tell me that happened on accident.  Go ahead and try.  LOL.  Brains fascinate me.  Because I’m a nerd.  Ok, moving on to how this applies to trying something new and creativity…

Did you know that our brains have the ability to physically change?  They have the capacity to physically change over time, based on experiences, stimuli, or even our thoughts, because of something incredible called neuroplasticity.   So, it gives a little more meaning to the phrase “I changed my mind,” because you actually did!  Ha!  Ok, brains are fantastic.  And doing new things causes stimuli, which can affect more than just the area of the brain occupied by the new task.  (I found an article about old people trying new things and improving overall brain function HERE).

The cool thing is that for a creative person, or aspiring creative person, doing something new you haven’t done before increases creativity in the areas of things you do all the time.  Improving overall creativity only helps!  Think of it this way, let’s say you’re working on a project at work and you get stuck.  You can’t think of a solution.  It’s like writer’s block or something.  How do you get unstuck?  You decide to give your brain a rest and do something different.  You go for a walk, or take a break, hit the snack bar, whatever.  And then, when you least expect it, the answer just pops in your head.  Have you experienced that?  Your brain keeps working on it in the background, but while you’re doing something else, the answer becomes clear.  Same thing here, except there’s not really a problem present that needs to be worked out — doing something new, learning a new skill, or trying something you’ve never done before is like that jumpstart.  It stimulates something in your brain that begins to activate creativity when you actually need it — when you’re working on the problem.   Because now you’ve been doing new things before you needed to figure anything you, suddenly, you find you’re not getting stuck any more.  The answers are readily available because you’ve greased the wheels by entertaining your brain with something new.

Brains are awesome.  Creativity is a muscle, and there are ways to exercise it.  Everyone is creative and it is possible to improve creativity.  Yes, even for you!  Because of neuroplacticity, even if you don’t consider yourself a creative person, you can definitely become one.  Your brain can physically change and you can become more creative than you are right now.

Hallmark, one of the most awesome employers of artists, knows this fact well.  They take their artists out regularly for retreats and let them do something different to keep their creativity fresh.  Someone who designs greeting cards might get sent out to a pottery class to learn how to throw on the wheel.  They will even allow artists to move around to different jobs within the company so they don’t get in a rut.  Doing something different and changing it up keeps your creativity fresh and vibrant.  I wish more companies knew how to keep artists happy :D

So here are some ideas to help you start something new to increase your creative quotient:

 

  • Take a painting class (or just grab a canvas and start painting!  No one says it has to be beautiful the first time!)
  • Learn Photoshop
  • Take a class about anything — drawing, photography, sculpting, pottery, jewelry making, the sky is the limit!
  • Read a book, or a blog, and teach yourself a new hobby
  • Grab a sketch book and start doodling — a drawing a day keeps the creativity pumping
  • Start arranging flowers
  • Make greeting cards or scrapbooks
  • Decorate your living room
  • Find a club that you’ve always been interested in, but don’t know how to do (so you’re learning something new)
  • Take up dance
  • Start writing, blogging, or start that novel you always thought you might write.
  • There’s no wrong answer here… what’s on your heart?

God make you unique.  There is something within you that needs to be expressed.  I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me and said something like, “I always wanted to paint, but I just don’t know where to start, so I never did.”  My response is always, “Start painting!”  Because there’s no right or wrong with art (sure there are rules, but it’s better to get started and learn as you go, than to never start because you don’t know the rules… Just sayin’).  You don’t have to hang that first painting in a museum, you are just learning!  Start somewhere!  It’s also better to start than to regret that you never did.  What do you have to lose?  I’ll tell you — nothing.  You only stand to gain a few more ounces of creativity (if creativity could be measured in ounces LOL).

Why not start today?  Who’s stopping you?  Answer: Yourself.  Stop stopping yourself, and get creative!  What are you going to do?  Let me know in the comments below!

Jumpstart Creativity: Do Something New! Great tips on how to get your brain geared up to being more creative now! KristenWatterson.com