How to develop a habit for creativity?

Oh, that thing! As you already know - creativity is a hard thing to talk about and even more harder to pull off. There is whole cottage industry based on "useful tips" on the subject (and truth to be told our site is a serial offender). However most of the tips presented in such articles are too generic to make any difference.

Creativity is so many things combined and yet there are no definitive recipes on how to do it the right way. Every time you tackle the subject of creativity - you take a step into unknown. Each tip one way or another is right for a certain situation and wrong for the other. There is also one thing that holds a pattern. Creativity must be a process and not a mysterious miracle event as it is frequently presented in the media. In reality - there is nothing special in creativity, except for the ways of its correct usage.

Few years ago Public Library of Science had published a research on the topic. There they defined 14 elements that are required for creativity:

  • Active involvement and persistence
  • Dealing with uncertainty
  • Domain competence
  • General intellect
  • Generating results
  • Independence and freedom
  • Innovation and emotional involvement
  • Originality
  • Progression and development
  • Social interaction and communication
  • Spontaneity and subconscious process
  • Thinking and evaluation
  • Value
  • Variety, divergence, and experimentation

So, if creativity is a process - how do you proceed it? How to develop a habit for creativity? How to make it smooth?

Here are few advices on developing a habit for creativity.

Do your thing all the time

As easy as it sounds - in order to implement an element of process to your creative activity you need to do your thing all the time without any significant periods of inaction. It doesn't mean you need to write all the time without a break. In order to become a better writer, you need some extra activity. Which is the vital part of the creative process. Basically all you need is to:

  • hone your skills;
  • map out your intentions;
  • develop new creative tactics;
  • train yourself to the point you will do everything purely on an instinct;
  • thinking randomly about your work counts since it adds an element of surprise to the process.

Also one there was a fine exchange in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, that says it all: "Do you know how to get into Carnegie Hall?" - "How?" - "Practice."

Develop a schedule

Being creative demands time and effort. If the latter can be pursued through a sheer force of will, the former is bit trickier. Since we live in a fast paced mumbo-jumbo riddled world full of needless confusing quick cuts and constant meaningless tremors - there is not much time left to settle in and get really focused for the meaningful and resourceful creative activities.

Schedule is a thing that can help you to make some precious time for your efforts. Develop some sort of a pace for yourself with periods of intense work and deliberate down time. Simple planner and a clock with lots of reminders can help you to keep track of time passed.

Think outside the box

Developing a habit for creativity has one pretty dark side moment. It becomes mundane. You get used to it. Things stop being fresh and there is always something missing. In order to get away from that - use following techniques:

  • Use what you got. Never mind the bollocks, just take everything you hand at hand and put it into some cohesive form. Don't look for something else - just use what is really at your disposal.
  • Destroy in a creative way. You have something you don't care or outright hate. Deconstruct it - piece by piece, rearranged, defaced, obscure it, make it obscene, obliterate the original structure, eliminate the initial form.
  • Instead of "Why?" ask "Why not?" and try. That one is. It's like saying "yes" to everything. By ceasing false step prevention caution - you can get into something completely different and definitely strange enough to reinforce your creative impulses.