Studies have shown that creative students are disciplined more often than less creative students even in classrooms where the teacher says that he or she values creativity. The same holds true for people in the workforce; creative employees are less likely to receive promotions and raises, even in companies that encourage their employees to be creative. Creativity comes with a risk. It’s up to you to decide if that risk is worth it.
- Take a Risk
If you’ve decided to take the risk and be creative, that’s a good start because you’ve already taken your first practice step. To be more creative, you’re going to need to take more risks. Your first solution to a problem might solve that problem adequately, but you need to go a little further to see if there’s a better solution. It’s a risk to take that time and the extra step, but it could pay big dividends with a better solution that solves multiple problems.
- Take a Walk
The best ideas always seem to happen when you least expect them. In the shower, in the car, or when you’re on a walk. There are many theories about why it happens at these times; it may have to do with defocusing on the problem and relaxing a little, which removes the pressure and stress that can stifle creativity. Walking has the added advantage of improving blood flow and helping you be healthier. Plus, you can take a notebook and pen with you so you don’t lose the idea.
- Take It Down
Always have a notebook with you. If you can’t carry a notebook, use your phone to record ideas and transcribe them later. Ideas can strike at any time. If you don’t record them, they will fade away like mist and be gone forever. Keep a notebook by your bed. Keep a waterproof one in the bathroom. Whatever it takes to harness your ideas, do it. The more ideas you record, the more you’ll get.
- Start the Project
All of the ideas in the world won’t help you. You need to start working on one. Choose the best idea, choose the easiest idea, or choose the weirdest idea. It doesn’t matter which one you choose at first because you just want to get started on working on something. The idea may morph throughout the project, but unless you start, the idea will never exist at all. Write words on the page, put paint on the canvas, make the weld – whatever your medium, well begun is half done.
- Finish the Project
Starting is great. Finishing is better. If you finish a project, you beat out all of the people who started and never completed their projects. By finishing the first project, you’ll get a sense of self-confidence that you can finish other projects. (The other projects may not be easier, but you’ll know that you’ve finished one, so you know you can finish more.)
- Show the Results
This is one of the hardest things for any creative project and the person who created it. You’ve got to release it into the world. Some people won’t like it. Many more will be neutral about it. Some will love it, and some will actively fight against it. Sharing allows you to get your ideas out there, and it allows you to draw strength from those who will support you. This is especially important if you’re going to turn your creative efforts into a business or a way to move forward at your place of work.
- Take a Rest
Even the best creators need to take time from their work to replenish their well. Resting from a creative activity includes doing those things that will help you create more later. New experiences, reading, movies, travel… the list is endless. Just give yourself some downtime before you move on to the next project.
- Start a New Project
Hopefully, you don’t stop coming up with ideas while you’re working on your project. When you get ready to start again, you should have plenty of ideas to work on. Choose one and get started again. The more you work on your creativity and your creative process, the more creative you’ll become.
For more on creativity, check out these books:
- Disneyland Is Creativity: 25 Tips for Becoming More Creative
- The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity
- Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories: Improve Your Creativity for a Better Life and World