Writers, inventors, businessmen and musicians seem to come up with great ideas all the time, but being creative is usually not an easy task. Be it in our daily work or occasional interest in poems and literature, creativity requires a lot of thinking as well as patience.
Similarly, creativity is also essential in the field of entrepreneurship, coming up with new inventions and innovations requires thinking out of the box. Being creative is not only gratifying but it can channel you onto a path you have wanted to be on all along. So it’s important to give your creative side more than an occasional boost. Here are a few ideas on how you can do so.
Critique by creating
Have you often looked at a piece of writing or a painting and thought to yourself that you could have done it better. If you have, then you should follow the principle of “critique by creating”. Mastered by the iconic sculptor and painter Michelangelo, “critique by creating” gets you in a healthy competition with yourself, pushing you to do better by looking at things that inspire and challenge you. Michelangelo looked at works done by his fellow contemporaries and if he didn’t like it, he went ahead and put extra effort in his own work, showing them how it’s done. This constant push made him a legend among artists in the Renaissance (which was already filled with great people). So, instead of criticizing a blog that differs with your own personal opinion, go and write another blog that rebuffs or argues against that blog. This way you are learning from other people’s flaws and improving your own skills as well.
In his now famous essay “Self-Reliance”, Ralph Waldo Emerson emphasizes on the fact that we tend to disregard great ideas just because we thought of it on our own and we usually undermine ourselves. He argues that many people have thought about ideas that have made thinkers and others famous and the only difference between them is that the thinker believed in him/herself. Many people come up with marvelous ideas and innovations but only a few have the courage to act on them. For example, Vincent Van Gogh’s works were rarely celebrated when he was alive. His energetic, expressive style was considered futile in front of the classic paintings of the time. However, whenever Van Gogh felt insecure about his work, he would stop himself from following the trend and continue doing what he felt comfortable with. And thanks to that self-belief, Van Gogh’s artworks took the world by storm and have redefined the boundaries of art.
Get to work
When it comes to adding onto your poem collection or writing a new song or perhaps even coming up with a different marketing plan, most of us look for inspiration – a push that will direct us onto something creative. But according to Henri Matisse, a French artist, “Creativity is not a gift or a talent. It’s a friend who only stops by when you are hard at work.” Safe to say, the probability of things striking your mind out of the blue is far less than when you are putting effort into doing what you already know. It’s important to keep working with whatever you have rather than waiting for inspiration to strike. Once you get to work, you will see how difficult it is and how you can make it better and in the process you’ll get creative.
Embracing silence doesn’t mean that you go live in the mountains away from any distraction. It means you have to embrace the personal silence of your mind, especially when you are with yourself. For example, J.K Rowling got the first idea of Harry Potter on a long train ride she took while looking for apartments and, as she was too shy to ask someone for a pen and a paper, she built layers and layers of the story in her head, carefully remembering every detail. This very elaborate thinking would later go on to become “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, the first of the seven books in the Harry Potter series. Most of us tend to opt for company wherever we go and being alone is often seen as being lonely but creativity strikes mainly when you are by yourself.
Learn to observe
According to Nina Paley, an American filmmaker, “All creative work is derivative.” This means that all creativity builds upon something that existed before and every work of art is the product of observation and appreciation mixed with an individual perspective. Haruki Murakami named one of his books after a song by the Beatles called “Norwegian Woods”. The book was a coming of age story that is surprisingly in tune with the song. Be it by listening to a song or reading a book or looking at an artwork, a simple observation is all it takes for you to get creative. According to scientists, creative people are excellent at noticing things as they have highly developed abilities in visual foraging i.e. spotting, gathering, and utilizing things that others tend to overlook.