Creative Input: Fuel your Creativity

by Liisa Kyle, Ph.D. on 02/03/2016

image via skitterphoto.com

Want to amp up your creativity?  One of the best, most effective — and most enjoyable — ways to inspire and hone your own imagination is to experience the creative work of other people. It doesn’t matter if you are a mathematician or a musician or an entrepreneur or an visual artist:  you can fuel your own creativity by experiencing the work of talented others in your field.  It’s a way to replenish your ideas, shift your perspective, and spark new insights and innovations. It can inspire you to stretch in new or different directions. It can illuminate new skills or techniques…or prompt you to figure novel solutions to the task at hand.

Begin with the people you admire in your chosen field. Who’s work do you love? Make a point of keeping up to date. It’s funny how we can have a favorite author or musician….and yet manage to miss the release of some of their titles. Maybe there are some hidden gems before they made it big. Perhaps you had a busy year and missed their most recent releases. The same thing happens with architects we admire, dancers we adore, and enterpreneurs we wish to emulate:  unless we make a point of tabs on them, we might be missing some inspiring examples of their creativity.

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Activity:  Make a list of your favorite creators in your field(s). Now spend a few minutes googling each name: what have they done that you don’t know about?  Make a list.

Bonus activity: This year, make a point of catching up on anything you’ve missed.

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Sometimes, we get so caught up in our own efforts, we neglect those of others. Sometimes, life intervenes.  Our schedule is packed. Our plate is full.  We have other priorities.

Of course. And to the extent we can include a regular stream of creative input into our lives, the more our creativity will benefit. Maybe it’s just a little: perhaps listening to music while we commute or exercise.  Perhaps it’s keeping an ebook loaded so that when unexpected time gaps occur in our day, we can read a paragraph or two.

Or maybe you have more flexibility in your schedule to add more creative input from multiple sources. Perhaps you’re able to spend an hour  a day on YouTube or Pinterest or podcasts for inspiration. Or maybe you make it a point to get to a gallery or museum once a week.

What works for you, given your current situation? Ask yourself what habits you can put in place to ensure you have a regular stream of creative input fueling your creativity? You are no doubt doing some of this already but here is an opportunity to take stock and ensure that you aren’t missing out on what is important to you.

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Activity: What creative input is important to you? Make a list.

Activity: Brainstorm ways to ensure each of these things is a part of your life on a regular basis.

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Now as much as you can profit from soaking up the innovations of heroes in your field(s), you can benefit even more when you experience creativity in other fields. This is especially true for DaVinics — creative people juggling several talents, projects and ideas — because our skill sets tend to be broader. We can see how something might enhance work and spark innovations in numerous projects. We are accustomed to cross-pollinating techniques and ideas across fields. A painting might inspire a song lyric that gives us an idea for a workshop that sparks a concept for a new product.

Start with the creative endeavors you admire, but don’t participate in. If you’re not that strong on the business side of things, for example, check out what successful entrepreneurs are doing. There are no shortage of YouTube videos, books, workshops, and teleconferences through which you can learn.  If you are not a gifted singer, listening to those who are can give you insights into story-telling, performance skills, and more.

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Activity:  Make a list. What creative fields are you drawn to?

Activity: For each item on your list, start to make new lists. As you hear of creative people or products, add them to your list.  Going forward, when you are seeking creative input, check out someone or something on your list.

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Many of us keep ‘to read’ lists. As we hear about books of interest, we jot them down. Ditto for ‘to view’ lists of movies, television series, and documentaries — or ‘to listen’ lists of music. When it’s time to indulge in creative input, we can easily and efficiently remind ourselves.  It’s easy enough to expand this practice to include whatever creative work we want to sample more of.

What do to with all these lists?  Keep them handy, for reference. Make a point of using them. Keep adding to them.

The simple act of beginning a list increases the likelihood you will treat yourself to more creative inputs.  The more options you add, the more diverse these ideas are likely to be. The more diverse your creative exposure, the more innovative you are likely to be.

The more creativity you experience, the more ideas you will have.  The more creative ideas you generate, the more will flow.

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Want to re-publish this article? Go for it – just include the author’s name, a link to this original post and the following text blurb:

Are you struggling with too many talents, skills, ideas? You may have The DaVinci Dilemma™! Find tools, fun quizzes, coaching, inspiration and solutions for multi-talented people at http://www.davincidilemma.com/ .

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