Noun: A person who is creative, esp. in a professional context.
Adjective: Relating to, or involving the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work: “creative writing”.
We don’t all have the luxury of working in large creative teams where we can spend hours bouncing ideas around. For many of us, we need to be highly creative when working on our own. Over the years, I’ve thought a lot about my creativity and how to enhance it.
Different people are more creative at different times of the day and night. Try undertaking creative tasks at different times and see what the outcomes are. There is a good chance you’ll find that the ideas flow best at a particular time of day. For me, the morning through until about mid-afternoon is best. I like to approach creative tasks first thing, before even I check my email, otherwise I get bogged down in other work.
It is also important to give yourself the time and space to be creative. I like to immerse myself in a project but then let it simmer in the back of my mind for a few days. I then use Evernote on my iPhone to get ideas down in text or, more often, audio notes as they come. Sometimes these crystallise when I’ve just got up, often when I’m in the shower. Other fruitful times tend to be when I’m travelling and I can let my mind wander, or when I’m having a glass of wine in the back garden.
Sleep, stress and exercise all have a great impact on our abilities to be creative. If you’re tired and stressed-out it makes it harder to be creative. As a father to young kids and a business-owner, I know we can’t always choose to have a good night’s sleep or whether or not we are stressed.
Fortunately, I have an antidote – exercise. If I need to be creative in the afternoon I like to get out for a bike ride or a walk first. Our brains work better with more blood pumping around them and exercise will also help you sleep better and will reduce stress. If I’m walking, I’ll take a sketch pad and my phone and generate ideas while I’m out.
Environment is also a big factor. I work from home and don’t have an office. Instead, I have a ‘studio’ that I work in. I have art up on the walls and various bits of musical equipment surround me. I get a lot of peace and quiet and for me, this is vital for creative thought.