Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Creativity

I am delighted to be able to bring you this guest Top 10 compiled by Lori McNee. Lori is an internationally recognized professional artist who specializes in still life and landscape oil paintings. She shares valuable fine art tips, art business tips and social media advice on her superb blog . Currently, Lori ranks as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter & was recently named a TwitterPowerhouse by The Huffington Post. You can follow Lori on Twitter @lorimcneeartist

Artists, writers, musicians and even bloggers have a common need to create. But, sometimes we hit a mind block and often find ourselves stressed, overwhelmed and unable to produce original ideas. This happens to me from time to time, so I decided share my top ten ways to boost your creativity.

1. Set Aside a Time & Place to Create:

This may seem obvious, but many creative people have busy lives and find themselves frustrated with little or no time to create. But, to develop your own creative talents you will have to set aside some time and space to create. Just like with exercise, you must commit to it.

So, what if you don’t have a studio or office space? Find a small corner of the living room, kitchen or bedroom to work. When I first began my art career, I worked at my kitchen table for years. I even know a professional artist who paints in her bathroom, and she is happy! Just stay organized.

2. Give Yourself a Break from Technology:

Recent research shows that our brains need downtime from technology! Believe it or not, listening to music, watching TV or talking on your cell phone is NOT downtime. Neither is your computer, Twitter or Facebook!

In fact, technology is known to increase levels of stress which makes it difficult to concentrate. Too much technology blocks creativity. Downtime is important and necessary, because it allows our minds to process information and remember it.

3. Try Something New:

If you find you are stuck-in-a-rut, it might help to try something new. Read a book on a new subject, watch a instructional DVD or Youtube video, take a workshop or try using a different medium to create. If you are a realistic painter, try abstract painting. Also, if you paint, try writing – or – if you write, try painting! Flip through a magazine, randomly surf the Internet.

4. Keep a Sketchbook or Journal:

It is a good idea to carry a small notebook and a pen or pencil around with you so you can take notes when inspiration hits.ÂTake time to doodle and write down ideas. This helps to unlock mind blocks. A creative sketchbook or journal is a great way to track your personal progress. It also records random ideas that can be used for future inspiration.

5. Keep a Whiteboard or Bulletin Board:

Much like a giant sketchbook, these boards facilitate creativity and productivity. Easy to use, they provide an endless canvas for brainstorming and organizing.

Use your board to keep notes of all your ideas, even the far-fetched ones.The more you use your imagination the more creative you will become.

6. Get Back to Nature:

A recent study found that people learned significantly, retained knowledge and de-stressed better after a walk in nature than after a walk in a dense urban environment. Constantly processing a barrage of information leaves people fatigued.

Try and set aside some time each day to “get back to nature” – even a walk around the block is often enough to help you unwind. If you are unable to actually get away from the chaos or city life, try spending time staring at fish swimming in a fish-tank, enjoy arranging some flowers or re-potting a plant.

7. Change or Clean Your Environment:

Your workspace is not just an office or studio, it is a creative environment. We are a product of our environment. Boost your creativity by clearing your desk, cleaning your paintbrushes; organize loose papers, books and other materials. This goes a long way toward enhancing your creativity and efficiency.

Make sure you are happy with the colors that surround you. Research shows that color can play a major role in our overall state of well-being. The colors we surround ourselves with directly influence the way we feel, relax and create.

8. Listen to Music:

Music is found to affect our process of learning and thinking. Listening to pleasing music while doing a task, can make the task seem easier. Music can be used to stimulate and relax the body and mind.

Music helps develop a positive attitude and provides the listener with motivation. Doctors and dentists have always known that music calms and soothes one’s nerves. But did you know that flat musical notes induce sleep, while natural notes provide the mind with alertness?

9. Create a Deadline:

Some professionals love deadlines, targets and thrive within those structured environments, while for others, a deadline seems restrictive.

To some creatives, the deadline approach might seem a bit contradictory and somewhat stressful. However, a target achievement seems to work really well. For example: writing a guest post for another blog (I am doing this right now!), entering an art competition, completing works for an exhibition.

10. Be Kind to Yourself:

Again, this should be obvious! However, give yourself permission to exercise, meditate, laugh, and do something enjoyable. Eat right and get plenty of sleep. Take a long, warm, relaxing bath. Just close your eyes and let the ideas begin to flow or take a power nap! And get plenty of oxygen to that overworked brain & don’t forget to b-r-e-a-t-h-e!!!

Many thanks to Lori for a really interesting and thoughtful Top 10 list, good advice I think for many areas of our busy lives. What do you do to relax and get those creative juices flowing?

*Image Sources

Flickr – All from the Design set –  Sean Macentee