creativity janae how to be creative the freelancer

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I was working on a rather mundane project last week when suddenly I was struck with a brilliant idea that stopped my work dead in its tracks.  I love it when this happens, even if it sidetracks the work at hand for a few hours.

But sparking your creativity is easier said than done.  It is usually a serendipitous phenomenon, but I believe there are a few techniques you can use to trigger that creative impulse.  Here are over 13 ways I get the creative juices flowing.

1.       Doodle.  You’ve heard of brainstorming and stream-of-consciousness writing to free your mind and unleash your creativity.  But even those activities are limited by conforming your boundless imagination to language.  Instead, just take out a blank piece of paper and a pen and doodle away.  Draw whatever comes to mind.  Just scribble anything and see what appears.

2.       Challenge Yourself.  People under pressure tend to surprise themselves.  Try giving yourself a deadline, say, coming up with 10 great ideas by the end of the week.  If your mind understands that there is a deadline to meet, it starts to work extra hard to ensure you meet it.

3.       Join with Fellow Creatives.  Creative people inspire each other.  When we’re all gathered in a room, it’s impossible for anyone to leave without at least a few new good ideas.  Meet up with anyone creative you know, even if they are not in the same industry as you.  The synergy created between two or more creatives benefits the whole group.

4.       Put up a White Board.  This is an easy one.  Put up a large white board in your office.  Brainstorm ideas, doodle, or write random phrases.  You’ll be surprised how well this works.

5.       Go for a Walk. Walking is a great way to charge the ol’ noodle.  It gets more blood flowing to your brain and a chance in scenery can help trigger inspiration.

6.       Observe. Ideas don’t manifest out of nowhere.  You have to observe and study the world around you.  Get out of the house and look at the world and people around you.  You may notice a missing need or find a better way to communicate with your audience.

7.       Sleep Regularly.  Poor sleep habits over time will sour your mood, weaken your physical state, and ultimately kill your creativity.  The most imaginative people I know get plenty of sleep.

8.       Map Your Mind. Write your particular challenge down; then surround it with related thoughts.  Continue to expand on these related ideas.  This is called “mind-mapping.”  Eventually, you may come up with just the right solution.

9.       Write in Stream of Consciousness. Self-censorship is the staunch warden of creativity.  But you can get past this idea-guard by writing so fast about whatever comes to mind that your thoughts cannot be stopped.  Write in this stream of consciousness style for 10 minutes and see if you came up with anything brilliant.

10.   Carry a Journal. How often do you come up with a great idea only to forget it later?  Well, you can’t really know how often since you forget it.  So get a small notepad and pen and carry them with you wherever you go.  Whenever an interesting thought or idea hits you, write it down.  Take a look at your journal later and you might find something you can use.

11.   Play with Children. Children spend all day playing, exploring, and using their imaginations.  You’ll be surprised how well this rubs off on adults.  If you’re stuck with a problem, play with children for a while.  You might even try asking them for solutions to your problem if you want to hear some really outside-the-box thinking.

12.   Write a Screenplay. Stories trigger the imaginative parts of our brain that helps us tackle other challenges.  Try writing a screenplay by using Plotbot – a free web service for writing and collaborating on screenplays and other projects.

13.   Feed Your Mind. Just like sleep can help your creative juices, the right food can stimulate brain activity.  Some foods believed to jump start the noggin include whole grains, blueberries, sunflower seeds, eggs, green tea, broccoli, red cabbage, walnuts, and even dark chocolate.

14.   Seek the Absurd. Challenge your familiarity with logic and reason by checking out something absurd.  For example, go to a comedy show, look at some surreal artwork, or read Dr. Seuss or Lewis Carroll.

Are you one of the creatives with ideas spilling out of you every day?  What other tips on inspiring the imagination and triggering creativity can you suggest?  Share your ideas with us.

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