Thursday, July 26, 2012

10 Ways To Be More Creative

Creativity, Break the rules

Years ago I took a class in food writing and was completely intimidated when the teacher rattled off what seemed to be a dozen ideas on a theme I was proposing. I had no idea how she did it and was completely sure I'd never be able forward to just recently when I did the same with a student who was sure there were no new ways to shoot reflections...

I think coming up with new ideas is a muscle and it's one that expands over time (I hope!). Over the past few years I've been reading extensively on creativity and here's a few of the methods that I've latched onto. 

1. Pretend you're a seven year old. Studies show that people were more creative when they imagined themselves as a kid - without that censuring adult voice inside their heads. Turn off your sense of what's appropriate.

2. Get Happy. Just being in a better frame of mind makes you more likely to find solutions to problems. So whether it's The Honeymooner's episode where Ralph tries to learn how to play golf in a week ("hello ball") or Denis Leary's rant on "coffee-flavored coffee" find something that makes you smile.

3. Don't get out of bed so fast. That early morning time when your brain seems so much more connected to the dream world can be a great period of creativity. Give yourself the time to just dream and wander. Think of it as guided daydreams.

4. Take a shower. Or do something else where you're completely relaxed and in your own thoughts. This could be meditation or even driving a route you've done a million times. I remember in Amadeus they showed Mozart rolling a ball while he wrote...distracting part of the brain.

5. Avoid groups. Brainstorming in a group is not the helpful activity it was thought to be in the 60's. Instead, use a little solitude. If you're like me, you want to be around people but don't want to interact, that's why coffee houses can be such a great place for creative thought.

6. Go to Bizarro World. This was the place in Superman comics where everything is the opposite. Sometimes this is a good approach for tackling a problem in a creative way. Look at its elements and flip each part 180.  A good approach used in 3d art-making is to literally rotate the object upside down - this allows you to see the relationships between elements from a different viewpoint. 

7. Pretend you meant to screw up. Yup, go with the screw up and see what happens. Whether it means you're printing with a different paper...using the wrong color blue...whatever happens...go with it. 

8. Give yourself some limits. One of the reasons that poetry uses rhyming or haiku is that these structures allow the brain to create in a more focused way. Narrowing the options allows you to use your energy more efficiently. 

9. Keep a voice recorder handy. Remember all those great ideas you had but never wrote down? Once your brain knows you're serious about having some new ideas, it's going to start providing keep a recorder handy.

10. Use your left eye. It's connected to your right brain which is the area that makes connections between obscure things. It sees the forest instead of the tree....of course this might not be a good idea if you're driving or crossing the street.

11. Give it all up.  If you have the stomach for a really radical approach. QUIT, GIVE UP. This is an all or nothing method...but occasionally, (Bob Dylan to name one) it has produced true genius.

Yup, that was 11 not 10...I figured I shouldn't be constricted to the rule of 10. Good go out and make something different!

1 comment: