Today (September 14th) is National Live Creative Day. So, we thought it was the perfect time to explore creativity, the creative process, and how to be more creative in one’s own life.
In our Silver Petticoat Review Manifesto and our Romantic Living 101 Guide, we explore Romantic Living characteristics – one of which is creativity. Romantic Living, as we define it, is a perspective, a more imaginative and Romantic way of looking at the world.
With Romantic Living, it’s essential to recognize “the importance of imagination and creativity; Be a creator of whatever inspires you. (IE: Write that great love story you have always wanted to or start that blog you’ve always dreamed of!).”
In our manifesto, a couple of phrases also relate to creativity:
Live the life you imagine.
Be a creator. Create art that inspires you. Imaginative stories that move you. And a life that thrills you.
But let’s get to the basics first.
WHAT IS CREATIVITY?
According to Human Motivation, the 3rd edition by Robert E. Franken, creativity “is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others.”
Psychology Today, on the other hand, defines creativity as “the ability to transcend traditional ways of thinking or acting, and to develop new and original ideas, methods or objects.”
And then, breaking it down into the simplest of terms, Merriam-Webster defines it as “the ability to create.”
Creativity begins as an idea, so you can use innovation to make that idea happen with actionable steps.
Creativity is the start.
You also don’t have to be an artist, a writer, an innovator, or an entrepreneur to be creative; creativity is a joyous part of daily life everyone can utilize. Perhaps you want to re-decorate your house, or you want to start a local book club. The sky’s the limit!
Ultimately, I like to think of creativity as a means of using my imagination to create something new, from small ideas to grand ones.
WHAT IS NATIONAL LIVE CREATIVE DAY?
To participate, all you do is use your imagination and “invent, discover, and dream.” If you want to share on social media, you can use the #LiveCreativeDay hashtag. Be creative!
Perhaps you have a passion you want to share with others, a new photograph you took, a painting, a poem, whatever it is…the point is to inspire others and yourself to live more creative lives.
It’s a lovely thing to celebrate! And we love that this day is about using creativity to help make the world better.
That’s what Romantic Living is all about!
HOW TO BE CREATIVE
So, how then can we be more creative in our own lives? I’ve compiled a few tips for inspiration. But creativity is personal and all about you, so feel free to “create” your own ideas.
BE A CREATOR
The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands. – Leonardo Da Vinci
My first tip goes back to our manifesto. We wrote: “Be a creator. Create art that inspires you. Imaginative stories that move you. And a life that thrills you.”
Being a creator is more than just creating a story or a work of art; it’s about making your best life. What that looks like is up to everyone individually.
The point is to be a creator and live the life you imagine.
It reminds me of that scene from The Holiday:
Arthur Abbott: Iris, in the movies, we have leading ladies, and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason, you’re behaving like the best friend.
Iris: You’re so right. You’re supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for God’s sake!
Take that advice! Be the leading character of your own life and create.
I can’t help but get that Viking River Cruise on PBS out of my head! But yes, it’s true: being curious helps inspire creativity.
The more knowledge you gain and ask questions, the more you have at your fingertips to inspire and boost your creative power.
So, be curious about the world, people, and cultures around you. Learn as much as possible, take courses, travel, gain knowledge, etc. Be a lifelong learner.
It’s also essential to connect with people who are different from you. If someone only associates with people who think and act like them, that creates a very insular world and stifles creativity. If you find yourself creatively stuck, try expanding your world and embracing others outside your usual circle.
That’s all part of being curious.
Getting those creative juices flowing may become problematic if you remain closed to new ideas, perspectives, and experiences. Therefore, try being open to new connections and new possibilities. You might be surprised by what happens next.
BECOME AN EXPERT
One way to expand your creativity is to become an expert on a particular topic. The more skilled you become in an area, the more knowledge you have, the easier it is to become creative in that topic or skill.
Sure, the old practice makes perfect adage is an important one, but perfection isn’t the point. Instead, becoming the best you can be and taking joy in the process is.
If you want to be a successful blogger (as an example):
- Start blogging.
- Learn as you go.
- Take courses, listen to podcasts, improve your creative writing, study content marketing, social media marketing, and much more!
What is the topic you’re choosing to blog about? Make sure it’s something you’re passionate about and knowledgeable in. Become the expert in that topic, a trusted source to others. Developing blog post topics will be much easier if you’re an expert on that topic. It requires constant creativity.
So, put in the hours to become a master of your craft (whatever it is) and keep fine-tuning your expertise. It’s a lifelong process.
BOUNCE YOUR IDEAS OFF OTHERS
Consider a writer’s room for a TV show. Or even the Brontë sisters (and brother) discussing their stories together. The famous siblings sat together in the evenings, writing together and discussing ideas.
And look at what they created: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Each sister created works of literary art – helped by bouncing ideas off each other.
I like to bounce ideas off my twin sister: hence this website! But we also love to come up with fictional stories and imaginative worlds and can relate to the Brontë sisters.
It really helps spark the imagination.
Harvard Business Review shares a brilliant summary of the power of brainstorming (best used in group/team settings):
“Great innovators have long known that the secret to unlocking a better answer is to ask a better question. Applying that insight to brainstorming exercises can vastly improve the search for new ideas—especially when a team is feeling stuck. Brainstorming for questions, rather than answers, helps you avoid group dynamics that often stifle voices, and it lets you reframe problems in ways that spur breakthrough thinking.”
So, in your brainstorming sessions, try asking questions.
Brainstorming leads perfectly to collaboration. Collaborating with others is an extension of bouncing ideas off others and brainstorming.
Creative collaboration is fun because others can help you find an innovative solution you wouldn’t have found on your own.
Just make sure you’re collaborating with people who lift you up and not put you down. And don’t forget to give more than you take.
A great example of creative collaboration is a creative team making a movie together – each adding their own part to create a greater whole.
CONNECT TO OTHER CREATIVE PEOPLE
Networking is another tip for creative inspiration. Connect to other creatives! Their creative energy could rub off on you.
Plus, you can make friends and strategic partnerships and feel more inspired overall.
CONNECT TO YOUR INNER CHILD
After reading a Thich Nhat Hanh book, I first learned how to connect to my inner child in college. And it’s stayed with me ever since. I often think about what I was like as a child and how “she” would view who I am now.
I was a child with unlimited imagination and optimism. But life pushed that version of myself away.
Made With Lemons explains what the inner child is well:
Your “inner child” is a subconscious part of you, the shadow of who you were as a child before you got bogged down with the troubles of adult life. This is the part of you that gets all warm and fuzzy about your favorite Disney movie and urges you to make snow angels. But it’s also the part of you that holds onto your childhood fears and worries, many of which might still impact you in adulthood.
So, if we can find a way to connect to that subconscious part of ourselves, it may spark that part of us that still loves Disney movies and fairy tale happy endings.
We can imagine and look at the world with wonder as if through the eyes of a child.
CONNECT WITH NATURE (AND TAKE A BREAK FROM TECHNOLOGY AND YOUR PHONES)
In the Greater Good Magazine (from UC Berkeley), they wrote a brilliant piece with scientific studies on “how nature can make you kinder, happier, and more creative.”
Nature helps decrease stress (and creating from stress is no fun!). It makes you happier, increases creativity, makes you kinder, and ultimately helps you “feel more alive.”
So, connect with nature as much as you can. It’s a great break from technology and your phones and improves your cognitive functions.
CREATE A VISION BOARD
Yes, this still works! While you don’t have to create a vision board, you can find your own creative way to visually save your ideas and hopes for the future, further sparking new ideas.
DANCE & EXERCISE
Dance is one of my favorite ways to inspire creativity. It is a creative act; sometimes, the greatest ideas come while moving to music and enjoying physical activity.
Exercise also helps. Movement and physical exercises naturally inspire creativity.
“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.
You get ideas when you ask yourself simple questions. The most important of the questions is just, What if…?” – Neil Gaiman.
In 2015, Claire M. Zedelius of the University of California performed a study to see if “mind-wandering” – aka daydreaming – affected performance on a creativity test.
“For 2 weeks, the writers and physicists were asked to write daily diary reports in which they wrote down their work-related ideas and responded to questions about the circumstances under which these ideas occurred. This included whether they had been mind wandering, and whether ideas were associated with an “aha” experience, or a feeling of insight. The results showed that a substantial proportion of the ideas occurred while mind-wandering, and of these ideas, the majority were associated with aha experiences. Thus, like the present findings, these results point to a specific advantage of mind wandering for achieving creative insights.”
If you’ve ever been given a hard time for daydreaming too much, make sure to mention this study! Letting the mind wander sometimes is a good thing for creative thinking.
I admit it: I love to doodle. I scribble in notebooks and sketch on programs I probably shouldn’t; if there’s a paper, I will cover it in doodles.
But apparently, doodling is good for creativity.
The author of The Doodle Revolution, Sunni Brown, details the power of doodling and how people like “Einstein, JFK, Edison, Marie Curie, and Henry Ford” were all “inveterate doodlers.”
I recommend checking it out. And don’t forget to doodle!
EMBRACE YOUR IMAGINATION
Don’t stifle it! Albert Einstein said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
Without imagination, what would life be like?
WELCOME OPTIMISM, JOY, AND GRATITUDE
While it’s not always easy to look at the glass half full and have a positive attitude, one thing I can always do is express gratitude for what I have daily. I write about it in my Kris Carr Results Journal, which helps change my perspective when I’m feeling down.
Hanging on the wall in my living room is a quote from Anne Frank, and I think it sums up this tip perfectly.
The quote says:
“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”
Find ways to express yourself creatively! What’s your style? Maybe you could wear an outfit that suits your personality and personal flair. Or perhaps you could find a creative hobby like crocheting or painting by numbers!
Find ways to bring out the real you without shame. Be a creative person naturally.
IMAGINE YOU’RE A FICTIONAL CHARACTER
You’ve heard the sayings: What would Jesus Do? Or What would Jane Austen Do? For fun, I sometimes like to imagine what a fictional character full of imagination and creativity would do.
For example, what would Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables do? How would she perceive the situation I’m now in? Look through her (or whatever character you choose) eyes.
This could lead to some fun results!
I mentioned journaling previously relating to writing what you’re thankful for. But it can also be a lovely way to write down your feelings, the events of your daily life, and even your ideas and creative thoughts.
Beyond writing in a journal for creative expression, it’s also wise to write or record your ideas once they occur. And journaling is an excellent way to do that.
LISTEN TO INSPIRATIONAL MUSIC AND PODCASTS
Listening to classical music, inspirational songs, epic movie soundtracks, and thought-provoking or uplifting podcasts is a simple way to inspire creative ideas.
I enjoy listening to a wide variety of music and podcasts – including pop songs – helping me be more creative. Sometimes I hear a song and just imagine. I’ve had numerous ideas come to me this way. And it’s very enjoyable too!
MAKE YOUR SURROUNDINGS BEAUTIFUL
“One can dream so much better in a room where there are pretty things.” – Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.
Create a space of beauty for yourself. Decorate your room, office, and desk, and make your space comfortable and suitable for you.
According to scientific studies, meditation (particularly open-monitoring meditation) helps stimulate creativity. By practicing observational skills and learning to observe and notice the things around you, you can help creativity come about.
So, take some time for self-care and meditation. It’s a simple practice. And remember not to be overly critical of yourself. Be gentle.
PLAY AND HAVE FUN
“I never did a day’s work in my life, it was all fun.” – Thomas Edison
Be playful with your creativity. Have fun! Run barefoot in the grass, walk barefoot on the beach, jump in the waves, catch fireflies, etc. Finding your playful side should loosen you up and help you be more creative.
READ, READ, READ
Read blogs, books about creativity, the classics, old favorites, and new books; you should even read outside your comfort zone.
Whatever you do…find time to read!
Writers know this tip! You’re not always motivated to create, so sometimes you just have to show up and schedule it. If you’re trying to write a book, show up every day at the same time and do the work even if you’re too tired and not in the mood.
Running this website requires me to have a schedule. Otherwise, I would let the business of life take over – and nothing would get done.
A new book, Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be by Steven Pressfield, talks about this! I recently finished reading it and highly recommend it – especially if you’re a writer, a dancer, an entrepreneur, or an artist. It’s a short read with fantastic advice for creative types.
So, schedule your creativity – even if for only a short time. Creativity will come despite a creative block.
SHARE YOUR CREATIVITY WITH OTHERS
Sometimes sharing personal creative work, something you’ve created, with others helps you come up with more great ideas! Plus, putting yourself out there can be fulfilling (even if it’s scary).
Maybe you can share a new painting you’ve created on social media. Or perhaps a poem. Don’t be afraid to share your creativity with others. You may even inspire someone else to share their talent with the world.
TRY SOMETHING NEW
Sometimes getting out of a familiar routine helps boost creativity. Perhaps you can try out a new recipe; maybe you can explore old ideas and see how you can transform them into a new way of accomplishing tasks, or perhaps you can take a different route to work.
The ideas are limitless. You could take a dance class you always wanted to. Or finally, read that book on your shelf.
Just do something new and different. It’s one of the best ways to spark creative flow.
WATCH CREATIVE OR UPLIFTING CONTENT
You can watch imaginative movies, Ted Talks with inspirational speeches, uplifting movies and TV shows, and more.
I find this almost always helps inspire me to be more creative and innovative in my own life.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Steve Jobs explained how creativity works in this quote from Wired in an article from 1996:
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.”
So, putting it all together, creativity happens when you take all of your experiences and thoughts and then find ways to connect the dots to create something new. Perhaps even your best work.
Hopefully, the above tips will help in the process of reaching your creative potential. Good luck!
Do you have tips for living a more creative life? How would you define creativity? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!