How to be Creative

I am an artist you know … it is my right to be odd.” (E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly)
As writers, we, like to think of ourselves as creative beings. But what does it mean?  Basically, it means we make things up. Creating=making.  Of course, being creative is part of the DNA of all human beings, so we’re not special. Children make worlds out of plastic blocks or sand. Writers make worlds out of words. As writers, we’re a curious lot.  We ask, We’re also ambitious. We want to create stories that resonate with readers. Being curious and ambitious are good traits…although sometimes dangerous. We all know what happened to the cat! And ambition can cause disappointment.what if?

RAMillu / Pixabay

Which brings me to another side of creativity. Being creative, living outside the box, has its costs.  It can affect our financial stability, our relationships and our health.  More likely than not, we can’t count on a steady income from our word play…our stories. Instead, we need a day-job, or a supportive family…and they have to be prepared for the precarious nature of our literary ambition.

As creative-types we’re often insecure and anxious. It’s the nature of the beast. We’re also easily distracted—sensitive to stuff all around us—except to the ticking of the clock. Like children, creative types lose all concept of time when immersed in a project. It’s a good thing someone invented deadlines. They help keep us on track.

Our biggest enemy is fear. That fear comes from inside us…not from any outer enemy. We’re afraid of being judged—of being criticized as not good enough. This usually happens when we compare. So stop comparing yourself and your art to the others. Have fun.


Here are more than 2 dozen ways to be more creative. Surely you have your own favourites. Care to share?

  1. Change your position, your view, your perspective. (write with crayons, wear mittens, sit cross-legged on floors, write in a treehouse, wear rose-colored glasses).
    JordanStimpson / Pixabay
  2. Slow down – smell the roses, or the melting snow. (aka: mindfulness)
  3. Brainstorm. Let yourself come up with forty-three solutions to a problem. (No editing out the silly ones!)
  4. Imitate. Find what you admire and copy it. (This is not cheating, it’s learning!)
  5. Surround yourself with the colour blue—according to a U of BC study. (Not sure if teal counts.)
  6. Play a musical instrument and strum for ideas (Einstein played the violin).
  7. Use mind-altering drugs (Supposedly Steve Jobs tried LSD, but coffee or wine work too).
  8. Make mistakes (yes, even the ‘greats’ created less than perfect art).
  9. Play (in a sandbox, with playdough, in a stage-play, or make snow angels, etc.)
  10. Avoid negative thinking (your cup is half full).
  11. Spend time alone (solitude is not loneliness).
  12. Spend time with others (connect, laugh, share).
  13. Steal and borrow (read and watch).
  14. Fake it ‘til you make it (aka, play pretend).
  15. Do what YOU want (forget the rules).
  16. Be physical (ride a bike, go for a walk).
  17. Sing – in the car, on your hike, in the shower.
  18. Share – making someone happy with your art empowers you as the artist.
  19. Spend time in nature – all year long.
  20. Write ideas down when they hit you (don’t wait).
  21. Take naps (with your notebook!)
  22. Live in a rainy climate.
  23. Live in a cold climate.
  24. Drink tea (in a fancy cup).
  25. Curl up in front of a fireplace—with a pen and paper.
  26. Travel—keeps you vulnerable, open and childlike.

More suggestions?

Elizabeth Gilbert said this about creativity: “A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner—continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you—is a fine art, in and of itself.”

Gabe writes the books she wished she could have read while growing up as an awkward immigrant in Winnipeg. Her Katya stories are set in pre-war Soviet Union and East Prussia.
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