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How to Be More Creative in Life and Design

Do you believe the old idea that some people are just born more creative than others?  Perhaps that is true to some extent if you compare yourself to Leonardo da Vinci, Frank Lloyd Wright, etc—those amazing individuals were extraordinary.  However, if someone told you that you could learn to be more creative, would you believe that?  Who doesn’t look around their home, workspace, or yard and wish they had a little more creativity?  “If I only had more creative ideas, I could make this space so beautiful on a dime!”  “If only I was more creative, I could figure out a way to create more living space without adding on to my house.” Well, I’m telling you…there are things you can do to be a more creative individual.  But before we dive into those steps, there are few things you should know about creativity. 
Creativity takes courage, according to famed artist Henry Matisse. Some people use the excuse, “I’m not creative!” because it is scary to put ourselves or our work “out there” for others to judge.  What if others criticize our work?  What if our creative ideas are not accepted?  What if we make a mistake?  These fears are precisely why being creative takes courage.  You have to ignore those fears and take risks (we’ve already talked about this in a previous blog!).  So, gather your courage and put your creative work, ideas, and self “out there” for others to see.
Creativity takes time…and you can’t rush it. When I put fabulous fabric and chair combinations together, the majority of the time the combination does not come to me quickly. It’s as if my brain has to sort through many different options, and I visually have to see something before making a decision. Creative ideas take time to percolate. When the right idea comes along, you will know it.
Creativity takes discipline.  Jack London said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”  You have to put in the work for creativity to happen. Writers put in the work of sitting down and adding words to the page. Decorators put in the work of trying out new color combinations with accessories. Put in the time, put in the necessary work, and creativity will show up…eventually.  (Again, it can take time.)
So, knowing that creativity takes courage, time, and discipline, what are some things we can do to make ourselves more creative individuals?

  1. Take up a new hobby.  You have to be willing to take on challenges (even when they are scary).  Exposing yourself to something new allows you to grow—and while that stretches you—it also gives you confidence and makes you aware of new perspectives. Exposing yourself to something new gives you a more diverse outlook and you will begin to see things more creatively.
  2. Exercise.  Countless studies show that people who exercise are more creative.  Movement has a lot to do with that. Moving allows blood to pump to our brains which increases our thought processes.  Creative ideas can result from that.  Exercise also relieves stress, and the removal of stress allows our brains to think more creatively.
  3. Surround yourself with interesting people—people who think and do different things than you do. The old adage is true…you will be like who you hang around. This doesn’t mean you will transform into what they are like; rather it means that these “different folks” will challenge you to think in more diverse ways…resulting in more creative thinking on your part.

So, there you have it…You want to be more creative in life and design?  Then, recognize how creativity works, and then do the things—take the necessary steps—that will make you more creative. In the process, you will also inspire others around you. In the words of Einstein, “Creativity is contagious, pass it on.”

Wendy Conklin

I'm Wendy Conklin, The Chair Stylist.

What brings me joy is helping others live more creatively. I design antique-inspired, boutique chairs, and I teach others how to do what I do. Check out my shop, services, and courses to bring more whimsy into your home and life!


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