How to Be Creative

Creativity is not just about being artistic. It is about solving problems, having fun, connecting with your spirit and being human. It is required to live a full, rich life. Nearly all careers require some level of creativity, as does recreation and any meaningful relationship.

Creativity is not reserved for virtuosoes. Nor is it learned. We all start out creative and lose contact with our creativity from time to time. It does not require beautiful mountain vistas, uninterrupted focus, motivational speeches, or anything else outside of ourselves.

The following list of ideas to get in touch with creativity is paraphrased from my previous post, 10 Ways to Be Creative Anytime, Anywhere. I believe this will serve as a good launching pad for a discussion on how to be creative.

  1. Strive for spiritual growth. As discussed in the post, Creativity is Inherently Human, our creativity comes from God whose defining trait is creativity.
  2. 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 distract the creative process. This is true of word processors, image editors and programming interfaces.
  3. Write about your creative thoughts. Even if your creative activity is not writing, writing can be very helpful for organizing your ideas. If you get interrupted, you can more easily pick up where you left off. If your ideas are jumbled or confused, writing can help make them clearer.
  4. Decide what before how. Decide what you want to do before determining how to do it or even if it is possible. Then, find a way.
  5. Brainstorm. Allow ideas to flow without judgment. Often, the most absurd idea leads to or even is the most successful idea. The best engineers, inventors and artists create things that no one else had considered feasible.
  6. 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. The more stress free attempts you make, the more likely you’re going to create something incredible.
  7. 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.
  8. Be prepared for ideas. Always have a pen and pad with you for the moments ideas pop into 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.
  9. Challenge yourself. The more interesting, intriguing, challenging and directed your creative goals are to you, the easier it will be for you to focus on creation despite distractions or interruptions.
  10. Breath. 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.

Continue reading How To Be Creative: Part 2.

2 responses to “How to Be Creative”

  1. none Avatar

    All good with what you’ve said, but I have a little question:
    What exactly is this God you are referring to at no 1 ?
    You seem like an intelligent person. So I guess you can confirm objectively that gods are just inventions handed down from generation to generation between people and borrowed between cultures, to fill a void of not knowing the reason for being. Any serious historian can confirm that, you just have to stop giving so much importance to your particular culture to agree on that.
    It seems to me that any particular god of any particular religion is just a random concept crafted to be used like some sort of rope you can cling to, instead of realizing that you don’t know jack about existence and yourself.
    This sincere feeling of not knowing, of mystery is in my opinion much more powerful and meaningful than accepting lies and half-truths just to sustain a belief in a certain deity and connect with others that entertain that same illusion.

    I must point out that you should not interpret this reply as a hate speech. I have much respect for you,( this is why I’m still on this blog and I’ll keep reading your posts.) But the way that people use this concept of God so often to mean literally anything, when truth be told it means nothing, never ceases to amaze me.
    It’s very possible that some sort of “God” could exist, but I can tell for certain that it has little to do with the pure product of imagination of babilonians, greeks, jews, early christians, muslims,etc. Please consider this.
    Good luck in 2012.

    1. Danny Avatar

      @none – Yes I agree that the God of our definition may or may not exist. And yes, I agree that the defining characteristics of God as we know them today have been passed on from generation to generation for the benefit and convenience of those perpetuating the stories. I don’t claim to know what God is or that God positively exists. If you read my post Does God Really Exist?, and the comments along with it, you’ll get a good sense of what I am talking about when I say “God.”
      The truth is, my belief in God, and my understanding of the nature of God, are in constant flux. However, philosophically speaking, it is difficult to deny the presence of some higher cause to our consciousness and even our existence. What exactly the nature of that “higher cause” is, I have no intellectual idea. But the question I ask myself is this:
      Am I better off believing and living as if God exists knowing that he may not, or am I better off believing God does not exists knowing that he may?