As a software designer by trade, I often have to rely on my creative talents at will. I do not always have the luxury of waiting for moments of inspiration. The working conditions that I work in are not always very inspiring. Interruptions are common, background noise is frequent and my view of the inside of a dull, brown cube under bright florescent lighting are not what some would consider ideal conditions for creativity. Yet, I manage to get in touch with my creativity and produce some surprisingly innovative applications with unique methods of solving seemingly impossible problems.
Getting in touch with creativity does not require beautiful mountain vistas, uninterrupted focus, motivational speeches, or anything else outside of ourselves. These things can help trigger our creativity, but they are not required. Our inspiration to be creative always comes from within, even when it seems to be triggered from the outside.
Here are 10 ideas on how to get in touch with your creativity at any given moment:
- Get into the habit of staying in touch with your spirit and aligning your spirit with God. As discussed in the post, Creativity is Inherently Human, our creativity comes from God whose primary trait is creativity.
- Separate the creative process from the creative tools. As a programmer, I found that my best work is created with a pencil in my hand, not a mouse. I design my system on paper before I build the application. Focusing on technical details can be very distracting to the creative process. This is true of word processors, image editors and programming interfaces. Most of us have experienced attempting to type up a quick document and spending more time tweaking fonts and layout than typing content.
- Write about your creative thoughts. Even if your creative activity is not writing, this can be very helpful if you get interrupted so you can pick up where you left off when you return to your work.
- Decide what you want to do before determining how to do it or if it is possible. Then, find a way.
- Allow ideas to flow without judgment: brainstorm. Often times, what seems to be the most absurd idea turns out to be the most incredible. The best engineers, inventors and artists create things that no one else had considered feasible.
- Let yourself fail. Sometimes you don’t know how something is going to turn out until you create it. Failed attempts are invaluable learning experiences and the more stress free attempts you make, the more likely you’re going to create something incredible.
- Observe the creations of others. If you want to be a better writer, read more than you write. If you want to design websites, study the designs of others’ websites.
- Always have a pen and pad with you for the moments ideas pop in your head. This will do two things for you: when you are focused on one project and ideas for another one pop up, you can write those ideas down and continue focusing on your current project; and of course, things you write down when you don’t have time to be creative will give you ideas when you do have time.
- Challenge yourself with an interesting goal. The more interesting, intriguing and directed your creative goals are to you, the easier it will be for you to focus on creation despite distractions or interruptions.
- Whenever you can, take moments to breath, clear your head and recenter yourself spiritually. Bathroom or eating breaks are a great time to do this. Whenever you start or return to your work, take a deep, slow breath, ask for God’s guidance and start working with a clear and serene mind.
To continue reading about creativity see How to Be Creative: Part 2.