We’ve all faced that blank page. We put our names on the schedule for a speech and now the Toastmasters meeting is only two days away (or less!). What do I talk about? I have nothing interesting to tell people. Are you one of those people who has said to themselves, all too many times, “I’m not a creative person”? If you are, YOU ARE WRONG! You ARE a creative person. Everyone is.
You may not realize it, you may not know how to practice it, you may not even realize what creativity feels like, but you are creative. In this article, I hope to show how to be a creative person and if you are already creative, how to be even more so. You can break those blank page blues.
Most of us learned how to ride a bicycle at some time in our lives. How do you get good at it? Practice. Practice. Practice. The more you do something, the better you get. It’s just that simple. I’ve been doing creative things all my life so hopefully I can share some ideas that will get you on your way but you will only get better if you actually practice. Just wishing will never get you skilled in anything except wishing.
First, are you willing? Are you willing to break out of your mold? We are creatures of habit and habit is a creativity killer. Are you willing to feel a little silly? Sometimes we need to try something new and some of those new things might be a little (or a lot) out of our comfort zone. Are you willing to be wrong? You might react to new ideas with “I don’t like that” or “That’s not the way it’s done” or even “That’s not the right way to do it.” There are times when doing something new or doing something in a new way might seem wrong. Try it.
Even just a little. Just don’t try those things that are actually wrong. Finally, are you willing to have an adventure? Hang on, because you are about to embark on a wild ride of learning new skills and new ways of thinking. I hope you have a lot of fun at it.
Kick the habit. Creativity and habit are nearly opposites. Have you ever tried writing with your opposite hand? Remember, this is to help you break habits, not write faster. Do you always put one arm in your shirt or jacket first? Do the opposite, on purpose, frequently.
Then mix it up, sometimes the right arm first, sometimes the left arm first. Which leg do you put in your pants first? Do you always start with the same foot when you climb stairs? Switch it up once in a while. Do you always take the same route to work and home? Try something new. Start out earlier so that you can take the scenic route around the long way. Or you could take the bumper-to-bumper way that you have always tried to avoid.
How about getting to work earlier. Try to be the first one there. Have you ever skipped a class, on purpose? The effort of catching up will help you see the content from a different point of view. For some people, pressure makes them think more clearly. Try designing a lunch specifically for walking, outside. Make a new habit of observing what your habits are, and then break them.
Be a creative person. First, surround yourself with creative people. Interesting people, unusual people, people who do many different things, especially if they do things that you don’t do, can be a real booster shot of creativity. Then go places and see lots of different stuff. Visit museums, galleries, bus malls, abandoned mines, flag factories… you get the idea? Also act creatively. Do lots of different things. Paint, dance, sing, weld, make lint sculpture, impersonate foods, do public speaking (okay now we’re just getting ridiculous).
Finally, try putting a new twist on something. Find solutions to problems, invent things, use or learn a different language, find new uses for things. The more you immerse yourself in creativity, the more creative you will become.
Remember, you are a creative person. Sometimes it just takes someone to help you see it. The only way to be more creative is to practice. This is your immunization against the boredom of the blank page. I will be following up with a number of booster shots to give you more creative exercises and hopefully you will be able to turn that writer’s block into writer’s cramp.
Credits: Mark Willems – CC, WE Toastmasters Club