My Top 3 Tips for Boosting Your Creativity
Back when I was 30 years old, I took a class on creativity in my master’s program. It changed my life. I’ve always liked creating things, but I had never thought about the steps to making oneself more creative until that course. I learned about Flow, the experience one feels when you are doing something and time seems to stand still—your innate ability and the challenge before you is a perfect match and keeps you effortlessly engaged for minutes, even hours. I immediately wanted more “Flow experiences” in my life. And I also knew I wanted to continue to grow my creativity.
For over 20 years, I’ve actively continued developing my ability to think more creatively. And if it’s something you care about too, here’s my top 3 tips for growing your creativity.
First, you have to be brave enough to try new things. This means big and small things. We know that our brains are stimulated when you do something new (it loves novelty)—whether its taking a new route on a daily walk or trying new fabric combinations. This also means making yourself take risks…choose to do things that stretch yourself and make you uncomfortable. My hobbies over the years have been things that make me more creative because I don’t know how to do them.
Learning how to upholster was one of those things. I took two courses back-to-back in 2012. I had many frustrating classes, but I kept at it and learned. Then, I entered the world as an entrepreneur and formed Chair Whimsy…and boy oh boy has that really challenged me. I’ve learned so much the hard way, and I’m still learning. But it’s been so fun, too! I’m grateful for all of you who continue to encourage me.
I’ve been brave enough to try new fabric combos and put it out for all of you to see. That’s hard for designers to do. It’s risky. What if everyone hates it? That’s the primary reason why so many people won’t take that risk and create what they love instead of what others expect.
My second tip for boosting your creativity is to hang around other creative people because they teach you new ideas. They open your mind to think and see things in a new way. Make friends with unlikely people. Watch documentaries and read books about creative people to see how they think. Adopt some of their ways to expand your ideas.
I recently watched the documentary Dolly Parton: Here I Am on Netflix. I knew I admired her savvy business deals, but her technique and ability as a songwriter inspired me. And most importantly, I admire her boldness to be unabashedly Dolly. It encourages me to create the things that I really love without worrying about what others think. And it’s my ambition to help all of you do the very same.
My final tip for boosting your creativity is to play more. I don’t take life too seriously when I don’t need to. When I think of an idea, I set aside time to brainstorm ideas without judging them. This applies to my fabric choices as well as potential online courses to serve those who want to learn.
How do I brainstorm? I use chart paper and colored markers and create webs that show how my ideas connect. I sometimes use sticky notes, writing down one idea per sticky and then I work to categorize them into groups. I also lay out main fabrics and try out other coordinating ones by placing them together and then removing the ones that don’t work. It’s a thoughtful process that produces big results for me.
Trying new things, hanging out with interesting people, and playing more has made a huge difference in my ability to create and boost my creativity. I’m living proof that it works. And if you want the same results, I highly recommend these tips to boost your own!
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