8 Quick Ways to Nurture Your Creativity
by Suzanne Falter-Barns
One of the really great things about creating your dream are
those times when you go into a trance. That’s when you look up
after three hours and discover that the rest of the world has
gone to bed while you’ve been creating your work of genius. And
this is when your creativity is at its absolute sparkling best.
Here are some elements you can put in place that will help you
slide into that exalted place more easily, and give your
creative spirit the nurturing it needs.
- Turn off the news and listen to music instead.
The creative part of your self is sensitive, easily upset by the
negative stream that passes through the news desks of our
nation. Therefore, limit or completely turn off the news. Once
you wean yourself of it, you’ll find that you really don’t care
what the headlines are. If you live alone, and like to have
television or radio ‘noise’ in the background to keep you
company, play music, books or poetry on tape, or positive talk
- Keep your work nearby.
Ideally, you’ll have an office with a door that’s right in your
home. That way, if inspiration strikes while you’re folding
laundry, you can put down the sheets, walk upstairs and do
something about it. (I was cooking dinner when I got the idea
for this article.) When recording artist Stevie Wonder is on the
road, he has a crew member whose sole job is to set up his
keyboards wherever he is. In an interview with The New Yorker,
Stevie stopped himself several times to go off and compose when
a melodic theme popped into his head, right there in the middle
of a backstage dressing room.
- If you take a break, stay ‘fuzzy’.
There’s a certain fuzziness that comes with creating — a
loose-in-your-joints feeling that results from letting the
creative flow pass through you. By all means try to hang on to
this feeling, even when you need to take a break. Don’t
interrupt it with a lot of hard-edged activities like business
calls, important decision-making, or reading financial mail.
Instead, drift around, read a magazine, a book, or a letter from
a friend, turn on music, play a game with your child. or cook a
- Always act on your instincts.
This is how some of the best research for your project will get
done. Call up that friend whose name keeps floating across your
mind; take that flyer that seems intriguing for reasons you
can’t quite figure out. If you listen to your instincts the
first time, it’s really much easier to get things done.
- Keep note-making material handy wherever you are.
There should be small pads of paper, notebooks, or personal
messagers sprinkled throughout your life. Put them in useful
places like your car, the bathroom, and beside your bed, where
the best ideas often strike. Use a personal messager or digital
recording device to keep track of your ideas. This is a neat
little recording gizmo often no bigger than a credit card, that
can record 25 or even a couple hundred messages at a time …
whenever and wherever the mood strikes. Some of them even come
on key rings; many cost less than $10.
When you have a moment, you can copy these messages into your
computer, daily planner, notes, or wherever the information
needs to go.
- Get out and see other people’s work in your field.
Read trade journals, see exhibits or attend conferences. Get to
know who and what is out there. Not only will this fill your
head with ideas and ways to do things differently, it will give
you inspiration on many fronts, including how to make your own
work even more distinctive. You’ll also learn things about your
business you simply can’t learn any other way, and possibly find
your way to valuable collaborations or business partnerships.
- Live and work in a beautiful place.
There is no substitute for natural beauty — even if it’s a
sunset seen from an apartment on the twentieth floor. Having a
view of nature, one way or another, is a wonderful way to keep
the spirit flowing through your door and into your work. If you
can’t arrange a river view, put something natural in your
surroundings that speaks to you, even it’s a window full of
house plants. Your soul will thank you, and your work will
- Indulge in the other arts.
For decades, Woody Allen spent every Monday night playing his
clarinet with a bar band at an Upper East Side jazz club in
Manhattan. Steven King and Amy Tan have been known to play in a
rock band called The Remainders. Michelangelo wrote sonnets and
love songs, and even Paul McCartney has had exhibitions of his
paintings. Spending some time fooling around with other forms of
creative expression is not only enriching for your soul, it
opens you up to new possibilities for your main creative work.
©2005 Suzanne Falter-Barns LLC.
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