I’ve a huge admiration for the creatives of the world. Th people who produce work of amazing originality. Yet they’re not born creative, they become creative.
One of the most interesting books I’ve read this year is Atomic Habits by James Clear. The key message in the book is that success in life is fundamentally down to the habits you adopt. In the case of creativity, here’s a few suggestions. These are kind of habits and behaviours you could consider adopting.
1 Keep an ideas book
Ideas come to you at strange times and in unusual places - when your Muse speaks to you. To make sure you capture that elusive nugget of inspiration, always carry an ideas book with you. Don’t rely on a phone, use a real book. Buy a nice one - a Moleskine works for me. Ensure it becomes your faithful friend. Don’t forget a nice pen too!
2 Study your creative heroes
We’ve all got them - musicians, artists, writers, architects. Whoever they are, read a biography, look at their work, find out what makes them tick and learn from them. You never know, their creative genius may rub off on you.
3 Find your creative place
We all need to be in the right environment to feel creative. Novelists have their writing room. Find or create a place where you feel ready to get to work. It could be a public space. The cafe at the Wellcome Collection in London is a particularly inspiring location. I can soak up ideas and capture thoughts.
4 Find some creative space
You need to schedule some time in your diary to be creative. Julia Cameron in ‘The Artist’s Way’ calls these ‘artists dates’. This time in your diary when you schedule in your creative time. You can’t leave it to chance - find time for it. Make sure you’re alone - solitude is key to creative output. Make sure you do it on an ongoing basis. Don’t wait for a moment of inspiration.
5 Take up journalling
Another suggestion from the Artist’s Way is 'the Morning Pages’. Every morning, wake and capture the thoughts in your head. These could be fragments of dreams, random thoughts. Whatever’s in your head, capture them and ideas will emerge.
A busy schedule and a stressful environment destroys creative output. Make sure you switch off, take time to relax and connections will form in your brain. Stepping away is a fundamental step in the idea generation process. Meditate. Make sure you’ve got your Ideas Book with you so don’t forget to capture them. (See point 1)
Creative work is tiring and drains your energy. Ensuring you stay fit and healthy will aid your creative output. It gets oxygen to your brain and boosts your mood (the natural high of endorphins). Sports such as running, swimming and cycling also create meditative rhythms. This help you relax and contributes to your creative output.
8 Take up a hobby
Our creative thoughts need an outlet. It could be cooking, painting, sewing, gardening. It doesn’t matter. Find something you love and use it as means of self-expression. Producing something tangible will also boost your creative confidence.
9 Find the right support
Meet up with someone who you can share your ideas with and bounce around thoughts. Take a class. Hang out with a group of like-minded people. They can offer you guidance, feedback and motivation. They'll help you overcome the setbacks you’ll face.
10 Seek out fresh experiences
The most creative people are open to fresh input. Go to places you’ve never been before. Try out new eating and drinking experiences. Go and see the play that’s opened at a theatre you’ve never been to. Go to a music festival and listen to bands you’ve never heard of. Without fresh experiences, we’ll never come up with fresh ideas.
11 Be productive
True creatives produce a high volume of creative output. Fail often, be brave, just do it. The only way to improve your creative output is to practice and produce. Don’t judge yourself too harshly. Keep going.
In summary, enhancing your creative output is all about adopting the right habits. Incorporate these habits into your daily routine. You'll find that the quality and the quantity of your output will increase. You don’t need to adopt them all. Focus on the ones that work for you and slowly but surely they’ll become part of your identity.