How to Be Creative

Four Methods:Adjusting Your MindsetDoing Your Own ThingChallenging Yourself with Creative ExercisesEnter the realm of Stillness

Creativity can be taught, but it must also be nurtured. Though you may suddenly get inspired into a burst of creativity, creativity doesn't have to hit you like a bolt of lightning — it can also be sustained and even enhanced if you have the right outlook, set up a favorable routine, and don't put too much pressure on yourself. If you want to know how to be creative, just follow these steps.

Method 1
Adjusting Your Mindset

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    Take feedback with a grain of salt. Keep following your own path. The problem with asking for feedback is that a person's feedback will always be biased because he or she will have a different idea of what your work should be. Other people will try to push you in a direction that might be right for them, but not for you. Though they may have good intentions, this will only stifle you. You should be comfortable asking for feedback, but don't let anyone's opinion keep you doing from what you're doing.
    • As you get more comfortable asking for feedback, you'll be able to tell which people really "get' your work and can give valuable criticism, and which people just aren't suited for understanding your work.
    • Once you're finished with your creative work, whatever it may be, then you can listen to feedback. Just don't let criticism, even the constructive type, stifle your creativity during the creative process.
    • Keep in mind that people will generally display resistance to your idea, because good ideas change the existing dynamic, and people, for the most part, like things the way they are. When you present something that challenges the status quo, many people will feel threatened.
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    Don't be afraid to criticize yourself. Actually, be harder on yourself than everyone else is. Always ask yourself, "How could I have done this better?" or "What would I have done differently in a perfect world?" Accept that you are not perfect, and that you're striving to be as good as possible is the fruit of self-expression. If you can't find fault with your own work, you're probably not trying hard enough.
    • Criticizing yourself doesn't mean setting such a high standard that you always feel like you miss the mark. You should be able to criticize your own work while also being able to appreciate your strengths.
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    Don't be a perfectionist. Your natural output, drained of concern for creating something that's exactly right, will always produce creative results. There are limitless paths to achieving creative success. Imperfection is human, and sometimes the most creative artists leave mistakes unfixed on purpose. Nature itself is beautifully imperfect. Don't try to be so perfect that you end up destroying the very thing that made your work unique.[1]
    • Being a perfectionist is also likely to stifle your output. Sure, you may produce a few high-quality pieces of work, but you'll also keep yourself from experimenting and trying out some less-than-perfect works that could have led to something incredible.
    • Work on the "bad" ideas. Even if you are only coming up with what you feel are "bad" ideas, you are still being creative, so develop them, and they could turn into a great solution! Focus on improving your "bad" ideas more than perfecting your "good" ones.
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    Don't tie your self-worth to your creative output. Your value as a human is defined by so many many other things: how you treat other people, how you treat yourself, how much love you have for the world, your willingness to be selfless, your ability to do the hard things. We could go on and on for a whole article, and creative expression is something that matters.[2]
    • But it's not the only thing that matters. If you fail at your creative endeavors, try not to let it affect your self-esteem. Try to use it as an opportunity to get better.
    • And don't compare your own output to the output of your creative friends, either. Everyone works at his or her own pace, and this is only guaranteed to drive you insane, not inspire you.
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    Put yourself into situations where you know you will fail. This one seems a bit counter-intuitive, but it's important. Lots of perfectionists are afraid of failing, and therefore only do the things they know they are good at. Don't succumb to this mindset. Creativity is like dating: If you never strike out at least some of the time, you're not trying hard enough. So let go of your ego, be prepared to fail (but don't expect it), and jump into new and challenging situations. You're never going to be creative if you never take a leap. Who knows, maybe you are afraid of drawing but you may be surprised that you are actually good at it.
    • Let's say you're a poet. Try your hand at penning a short story, even if you're way out of your comfort zone. Enjoy the relief of knowing it probably won't be the greatest artistic feat of your life, and have fun with it.
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    Think like an adult but act like a kid. Adults who are trying to be creative face a lot of creative roadblocks along the way: there are rules about what's allowed and what isn't, how we're supposed to behave and not behave. Those rules are there for a reason (we're not saying they're bad), but they can inhibit your creativity. Instead, use all the natural intelligence you've gained as an adult and where possible, act like a kid. Maintain the wonder you had as a child, and look at every person you meet or every tree you see as endlessly fascinating.
    • Kids ask lots of questions to try to understand the world. Don't ever stop doing that.
    • Children have a natural creativity that's constantly reinventing itself, partly because they're learning about the world and partly because they don't know that they're not supposed to do certain things.
    • Don't be afraid to responsibly break rules. Tap into that playfulness that's inside of us all, and go explore that jungle gym that is the world.

Method 2
Doing Your Own Thing

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    Find a routine that works for you. Routines can be positive if they reinforce a healthy, creative mindset; they can be counterproductive if they actually keep you from being creative. While breaking your routine once in a while to force new ways of thinking is good, what if growing/learning/experiencing new things was built into your routine as a given? The people who speak negatively about routine have probably not developed a routine that puts them on a path of internal growth. The key is to discover creative rituals that put you in a more creative mindset.[3]
    • If you really want to be creative, then yes, you have to start looking at your creative output as work. You have to sit down and try to produce during the time you've set aside for being creative, even if you're not feeling inspired.
    • Many writers not only have a minimum number of words they must write each day, but they also have almost superstitious requirements for their writing conditions. The 18th century German writer Friedrich Schiller, for example, kept rotten apples at his desk and soaked his feet in a tub of ice water while he wrote![4]
    • Don't be afraid to seize control of your environment and make it work for you. Ray Bradbury wrote the book-burning story Fahrenheit 451 by leaving his house and writing in a library. Stephen King insists on utter silence while writing, while Harlan Ellison listens to high-volume classical music.
    • Set aside a block of time each day to foster your creativity. Kick the session off with a creative exercise or ritual that triggers a flexible state of mind. Whether it's meditating, freewriting, listening to a particular song, or rubbing your lucky rock — do whatever gets you "in the zone" and set a daily goal (e.g. one sketch per day, 1000 words a day, an invention or song a day).
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    Don't get influenced by trends. Though being aware of trends can help you have your finger on the pulse of the culture, you shouldn't try to do what everyone else is doing just because you think it'll be more trendy. Instead, follow your own path and do the thing that inspires you the most. If you want to yodel but pop music is more popular, who cares? If you want to start a bluegrass band instead of sing R&B, that's perfectly fine. It's good to know what's popular and relevant in your genre, but don't let it dictate what you do or do not try.[5]
    • Not getting influenced by trends is different from being ignorant of trends. If you're writing literary fiction, for example, you should know what kind of literary fiction is popular so you can be aware of how your work is positioned within that genre. You'll need to know what you're up against to be able to speak intelligently about your work.
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    Don't be obsessed with popular culture. Don’t watch too much TV, don’t listen to the radio, and don't let popular culture take over your life. Though none of these things are bad for you in moderation, being too obsessed with popular culture can make it harder for you to come up with your own original thoughts. Instead of watching TV, get original ideas from hanging out with friends; instead of listening to what's popular on the radio, go to a record store and discover your own musical tastes.[6]
    • This of course assumes that you're actually paying attention to the TV or radio — many people leave them on simply as background noise. If this is you, don't be afraid of a little quiet, but rather listen to your uncluttered mind and see what bubbles up.
    • Hanging out with people who also eschew pop culture can make you more likely to be creative.
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    Don't force your work into a single genre. Though you should be able to describe your work, you don't have to pigeonhole your own creative output and make it be one thing or another. If your work is a hybrid of two or three genres, such as a vampire detective young adult novel, that makes it even more interesting. When you're working, don't think about where your work fits in; you can worry about that once you're done with the finished product.
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    Take advantage of your alone time. You don't have to be anti-social, but many people find their creativity really starts to open up when they are removed from others and able to have quiet focus for their creative work. Use a little bit of alone-time to brainstorm about your art. Spend the time right before you go to sleep — and right after you wake up — to journal some of your ideas. Many artists find that they are at their creative peaks right after they wake up in the morning.
    • At the same time, be collaborative. Lots of artists find that working with someone else pushes the limits of what they thought was possible. Whether it's Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Woody Allen and Diane Keaton, or Duke Ellington and all of Jazz, collaboration is an essential part of creation.
    • Find someone who you can share ideas with. Challenge them to do something wild and unexpected, involving you in the process. Hopefully, your creativity will be unleashed.
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    Ignore the past. If you really want to be able to do your own thing, don't get hung up on the past. It's important to know what has been created in the world up to this point, but that doesn't mean that you should try to mimic it. You can be influenced and inspired by artists in the past, but don't let them inhibit your own style and form of expression. In a creative state of mind, time doesn't exist — a few hours can feel like seconds, a moment can seem to last for hours, and you're completely immersed in the present. Learn how to live in the moment.
    • It's okay to take inspiration from the past, but don't dwell on it. There will probably be aspects of past art that you like and ones that you dislike. Take the aspects that you connect with and develop them into your own. Fuse Art Deco with something Modernist. Take Dixieland and make it Baroque.
    • Whatever you do with the past (if you choose to take inspiration from it), be sure to let it grow into something rather than keeping it what it is.

Method 3
Challenging Yourself with Creative Exercises

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    Limit yourself to only using the most vital tools. Working with only a limited amount of tools will challenge you to make use of what you have and to stretch your creativity to the limit. As a result, you’ll get incredibly good with that small set of tools and refine your use of them to a point you can do anything you like with them. You’ll be far sharper than someone who merely dabbles with a larger set of tools.[7] Learn how to be resourceful.
    • If you're a painter, limit yourself to one medium and just the primary colors. If you're a drawer, limit yourself to pencil drawings. Especially in the beginning, excelling at the most basic kind of expression will help you be creative once you have more tools at your disposal.
    • If you're a movie-maker, limit yourself to black and white film. If you're a photographer, do the same. Don't think that creativity always means the same thing as options; it often doesn't. Creativity creates options, not feeds off them.
    • If you're a writer, practice writing with only the words a 6th grader might understand, even if you're writing about concepts that adults find difficult to wrap their minds around. If you're a playwright, try to get by without using props in either your script or in your performances. See what happens!
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    Write a story based on a picture. Think of 100 (or 50) words about the picture, write them down, then create a crazy story about the picture using all (or most) of the words. You can use a picture from a magazine, a picture you find online, or even an old photograph.
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    Spend half an hour a day thinking exclusively about one subject. At first, this might be very hard to do. You can start off by thinking about a single subject for five minutes a day, then increase the period daily until you reach a half hour. At first it is wise to practice this when alone, but eventually you should be able to do it even in the midst of distractions, such as when traveling to and from work.[8]
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    Speak for 15 minutes without using the words I, me, my and mine. Make it smooth and keep it interesting, so that someone reading or listening would never notice anything odd about it. This forces you to turn your mind outward, and give up the preoccupations and obsessions of your own life.[8]
    • If you like this game, see how long you can talk (and make sense!) without using a common word, like "and," "but," or "the."
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    Combine two distinct ideas. Choose two random objects, and describe each one in detail. What does it look like? What is it used for? How is it made? Then substitute one object with the other objects description. How can I make object A feel like object B? Or do what object B does?[9]
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    Keep a metaphor journal. Write in the journal every day, describing everything you do and feel with metaphors. Each day, challenge yourself to come up with new metaphors. (After all, how many different ways can you symbolize brushing your teeth?) You can work on writing a good metaphor first, before you jump into the metaphor journal. A metaphor is any comparison that does not use "like" or "as," such as saying, "My love is your drug."
    • If you're not used to metaphors, start by coming up with similes — a simile is any comparison that does use "like" or "as" — and later work on dropping the "like" or "as".
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    Answer a list of basic questions using song lyrics. Write a list of basic questions, such as "What is your name?" or "What did you do last Thursday?" Try to come up with at least 10 questions. The more you ask, the better! Whatever question comes to mind, write it down, even if it seems foolish. Answer the questions with song lyrics and try not to use any song more than once.
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    Play word association games. It helps to have someone willing to play along, but you can also do this alone. If you're doing it solo, write down your beginning word and spend 10 minutes or so just saying the next word that comes to mind. Compare the beginning word to the final word. They should be pretty diverse. This loosens up your mind to allow free association of ideas.
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    Write the same story from the point of view of three characters. Try to tell the same story from the point of view of three key characters in the story. You may think that each character experienced the story the same way, but as you delve into their minds, you'll see that no two people see any two situations exactly the same way. This will help you develop your critical thinking skills and will make you have a better understanding of the story you really want to tell.
    • Once you've written the same story from three points of view, ask yourself which story you like best. Why did it turn out that way?.

Method 4
Enter the realm of Stillness

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    Enter the realm of Stillness. Any creative idea comes from the realm of consciousness or stillness. That's the source of all creativity. Its thoughtless, devoid of any content. Even many creative people are not aware that their ideas come from the space of no thought, no mind. People are not creative because they can't stop thinking not because they don't think enough. If you are looking for a creative solution to your problems then enter into the realm of consciousness. Thoughts that come afterwards will be charged with creativity. How to do that?
    • Meditate. Meditation brings you out of thought activity and helps you connect with realm of 'No mind'. Being aware of your breath and inner body is a great meditation practice. Read Stay Rooted in Being for more insight.
    • Do any activity that you truly enjoy. Have you noticed when you are doing an activity that you truly enjoy, you have almost no thoughts in your mind? You are free of worries, problems, future and past. You are completely present. Notice the quality of your thoughts after you you do those activities. These activities could be anything like biking, spending time with your pet, music, talking to your loved ones etc.
    • Don't just reject or accept anything, put it to a test.


  • Don't care about what other people think of your work or talent. You know more about yourself than they do.
  • Spend time around creative people. The most reliably creative people are children. Their imaginations aren't boxed in, and "mind merging" with them can remind you of what it's like to think outside the box.
  • If you have problems being creative, look inside yourself. Everyone is creative, but if you don't think you're 'good' enough to be creative, then chances are you won't be able to be as creative. Raise your self esteem and you'll find that it's a lot easier to be yourself.
  • Whenever you're challenged to create something, ask yourself: What's the most outrageous, preposterous, and nonsensical thing I can come up with?
  • Change the ways you do things, take another road to town, watch TV with one eye or read while you are on the toilet.
  • Surround yourself with blue. A recent study found that people working with blue backgrounds performed creative tasks better, while people working with red backgrounds paid more attention to detail. [10]
  • To develop your intuition to a high degree, read Dr. David R. Hawkins, Power VS Force, where he discusses how to use kinesiological testing by yourself or with a partner. I call it visual intuition as you get an answer from the Source.
  • Creativity usually comes with practice. If you want to be creative at something do it again and again. The more you do it the more creative you become.
  • There's one more thing that you need to know before you let your creativity flow. Listen to your heart! Listen to the rain! Listen to the voices in your brain!
  • Think of your life experiences, and change it into a new form like a song, painting, collage, or even a short film!
  • Try listening to music while you paint or draw.
  • Think outside the box. Draw a few lines on a piece of paper and see what I becomes!
  • Think about how your life should be, what you would like to experience. Then draw it, write a song or story about it, express your emotions to the world so everyone can see your inner beauty!

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