The value of creativity isn’t limited to writers – it’s an in-demand soft skill, often heralded as one of the most valuable in the workplace. Being more creative could really benefit us all in the long-term, as engaging in creative activities is thought to delay the development of memory problems in old age.
So, how do you improve your creativity? We’ve put together a list of proven ways to flex those creative muscles and get your ideas flowing again.
- Experiment with prompts
You may have already tried prompts in your search for inspiration, but they really can spark new ideas. Whether you’re a writer looking for a new novel idea, or you’re searching for inspiration at work, it can be hard to pluck innovative ideas from thin air.
Stimulate your imagination with prompts to get fresh concepts flowing. You may not come away with anything this first time, but try and try again, and you’ll find your responses easier to form as you explore avenues you may never have dared to before.
- Try a new routine
Shaking up your routine can do wonders for your brain. It’s easy to become complacent and comfortable in your own space, so take the time to wake up at a different time than usual, explore your surroundings and discover new hours of the day.
Brain activity fluctuates throughout the day, you may find yourself scribbling down ideas first thing in the morning rather than last thing at night.
If you’re stuck in a rut with your current routine, take a look at the writing routines of famous writers and our own team of experts on our blog.
- Speak to new people
Seeing the world from a new perspective, listening to new opinions or contrasting beliefs to your own can be a fantastic way to challenge your view of the world.
Research suggests that the desire to learn and discover new experiences seems to have significantly more bearing on the quality of creative work than the intellect of an individual alone.
You don’t need to be a genius to boost your creativity, you just need to be open to new experiences beyond your current environment. Joining a writing group or course can be a brilliant creative and social venture.
- Try a new skill
Similarly to the above, trying a new skill can be an extraordinary way to boost your imagination.
“Experiencing or learning new things requires your mind to think (and neurons to connect) in new ways. It provides new perspectives and supple ground for ideation and creativity,” writes Kendra Sand.
- Free writing
Have you ever tried free-writing? It’s an activity that can take many forms, although it is often mistaken for stream of consciousness which is far too meticulous and crafted to be considered free writing. The purpose of free writing is to write without constraint. The content and grammatical structure doesn’t matter, all that matters is the constant writing of whatever is on your mind.
Creativity is the byproduct of free writing – helping you unlock your thoughts and unleash your imagination.
- Sign up for our creativity course
Our Creativity for Writers course is all about developing your creative skills and learning new ways to generate fresh ideas and solutions to overcome the obstacles you may be facing.
With proven tips, writing assignments and feedback from peers as well as an award-winning author.
- Go for a walk
Stanford University researchers found that walking stimulates imagination. They examined the creativity levels of people while they walked versus while they sat still. They found that a person’s creative output increased by an average of 60% while walking. Another study found a nature hike boosted creativity by 50 percent.
Whether you’re in an urban or rural setting, there’s an abundance of stimulus to get you thinking. Listening to sounds, feeling the texture of the world beneath your feet, as well as the scents and sensations you may come across all act as inspiration to get you thinking.
If you want to take it up a notch, many well-known writers are also runners, citing the activity as a part of their creative process.
- Cultivate a creative life
Creativity is a mindset that needs to be nurtured. It is a muscle to be trained, not a switch that can be turned on or off at any whim.
Finding new ways to embrace creativity in other aspects of life is something our Creativity for Writers course excels at. Our course leader, Francesco Dimitri, has also written a brilliant article on how to be more creative.
- Let go of perfectionism
Tried all those things and still can overcome your creativity block? Fear could be holding you back.
Writers by nature are prone to overthinking, writing draft after draft until they’re just right. It can be hard to just let go of the need to be perfect.
Perfectionism is so often intertwined with imposter syndrome and writer’s block, whether you’re worrying about people’s opinions, that you’re not good enough or that you’ll ever have a good idea ever again. It’s the fear of failure that’s suppressing your creative freedom.
Imposter syndrome is something even successful writers struggle to defeat.
Being more creative is a long-term commitment but it can be immensely rewarding for writers and non-writers alike. If you try our suggestions, let us know how they helped and which activity you enjoyed most.
If you’re looking for more guidance on your creative journey, sign up for our Creativity for Writers online course and explore the science and philosophy behind living a creative life.