How to Be More Creative Right Now
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How to be more creative? That’s a question all writers ask themselves at some point.
The reality is you ARE a creative person. But someone, sometime, flipped OFF your creativity switch. I want to tell you how you can flip it back on.
The Picasso Theory of Creativity
Here’s a very haunting quote from artist Pablo Picasso. He said,
“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
That’s scary but so true. It extends to the art of writing too. Children are natural storytellers, but we tend to click off their creative switch.
It happened to me. When I was a kid, I used to tell stories about the adventures I had that day. On occasion, I related a fictional story that leaped from my mind. How were my stories received by my family and friends? Not well. The usual response was, “What are you jabbering about?” Or, “Are you finished yet?” That kind of input shut down the pictures in my mind fairly fast.
I know it likely and it’s happened to you too. So, I don’t feel like I need to tell you how to be creative. You ARE creative.
Much of what I have to say here is about getting rid of the bad things you were taught that have hindered your creativity.
I want to offer you some ideas about how you can flip on your own switch and live in your original creative light all the time.
Someone Taught You to Be Critical
There was a time in your life when everything was good. Remember those fantastic drawings you made with crayons on your mom’s living room wall?
Then, mom came in and was critical of your free-spirited creativity.
You went to school in later years and they taught you more ways to be self-critical. Not only was coloring on the wall unacceptable there, but you got criticism if you colored outside lines.
You remember—you thought you did great work on that paragraph about what you did on your Maine family summer vacation in the third grade. But your teacher thought it was only worth a D because you misspelled Lake Chaubunagungamaug where you caught your first fish.
Thus, you began to question your creative powers at a young age. Self- doubt was instilled in you by others. You quit soaring in your wild flights of creativity and began following the herd mentality. That felt safe. Dull, but safe.
Inner Conflict Kills Creativity
Do it by realizing that creating and criticizing at the same time will snuff out your creative light.
Creating is a right-brain activity. Creativity, at its best, is allowing your imagination to soar and capturing its flights of fancy. Being in a creative mode is like being in white-light because it’s pure, good, and unaffected. The right side of the brain is a child at play.
Criticism, on the other hand, is the left brain at work. You need your left brain when you plan your book and when you revise and edit your book.
But you don’t want to criticize yourself as you write each sentence. You never want to mix right and left brain work. You will kill your creativity if you try to simultaneously create and criticize your work.
Both creativity and criticism have their place, but never try to do them at the same time. And that’s why so many would-be writers fail.
If they would have only taught us that when we were children. But they didn’t. They taught most to be peevish little perfectionists, and in so doing made their lives a hell of self-righteous criticism for them and others ever since.
Can you speed-bump out of those childhood grooves? That’s hard work. You’re better off just flipping the switch in your mind and decide not to write and edit at the same time. Slap down that misguided perfectionist within you.
Dealing With the Insecurity That Makes You Cry at Night
Someone made you insecure. You didn’t start that way—someone had to train you.
Insecurity is a dark room. You can’t be an adventurous writer if you are trapped in that room.
Insecurity raises its ugly head in many ways in the writing process. It may spring from lack of confidence, fear of failure or a sense of being overwhelmed.
Virtually all writers have feelings of insecurity, but the big question is how to overcome them.
You can do all sorts of things, like figuring out who planted that devil seed in your mind. Or seeing a therapist. Or you could just remain defeated.
But real switch flipping — the kind that gets your childlike creativity back— is when you decide to simply be brave.
Creative people are on an adventure. If you want to suck all that is creative out of your life, you need to give up the fear-induced insecurity and simply embrace your world with courage.
Don’t sort through your personal trash each day trying to figure out why you’re insecure. Be bold and abandon your insecurities. The creative light comes on when you make up your mind to be bold.
Discouragement: The Do-It-Yourself Creativity Crusher
Nothing crushes the spirit of a creative person more than discouragement from significant others.
If some stranger tells you you’re crazy to pursue your writing project, you can generally just sluff it off.
But if a parent, sibling, spouse or close friend tells you that you are wasting your time, it has a greater impact.
That’s a dagger to your creative heart.
In fact, it can become worse—you adopt their discouragement and it becomes a part of your own self-talk. You crush your own creativity when you listen to and adopt the misguided or misanthropic criticism of others.
How do you flip that switch? It’s simply having the quiet conviction that you are going to see your writing project through, no matter what.
Those people who try to discourage you—who do they think they are? Losers, that’s who they are. You don’t try to argue with people like that. You put them out of your mind.
If you are in a dark place because you’re being smothered by negative people, you flip the switch of your own vision for your work and the conviction you have that you’ll complete it.
Encourage yourself—you know what you’re doing and they don’t. Bask in the rays of creativity that come with confidence.
Most educators want children to be like them. They want children to live and think in a tiny little box of ideas.
There are others in society who think they’re doing you a favor by telling you to “think outside the box.”
But the joke is this—there is no box! There is only the creative switch in your own brain. Flip it on and become enlightened!