Ways to encourage the flow of creativity

Vilmarie Vega
Published on: October 2013
Once in a while, we might find ourselves struggling with blocks to our creativity. When our thinking becomes stuck in a rut, it can be helpful to try different exercises to reignite your crea-tivity. You do not need to make a big investment of time or money to get unstuck. Simply put in a little effort and see where your imagination takes you.

Making visual art can spark your creativity, and it do not have to be a complicated or intimidat-ing process. Take a piece of paper and doodle or draw on it with any kind of writing instrument. You can even use crayons or markers. Paint or fancy calligraphy tools are not required to let your imagination run free on the paper. You can draw abstract shapes or more organized figures.

Draw scenes from a song or a poem. Visualize in your mind what the song or poem is depict-ing. Is the subject a broken-hearted lover? A mourning mother? A couple struggling to survive in a tough economy? Think about what these people look like. What are they wearing? Are they standing tall or hunched over in pain? What kinds of expressions are on their faces as they go through their experiences?

Work with physical materials to create three-dimensional art. Make little sculptures out of clay, or out of dough if you are baking. Make any shapes that you can think of. Create a different kind of sculpture by dripping candle wax into a cold glass of water. The wax forms interesting, perhaps even beautiful, shapes when it solidifies in the water. Pull them out and examine them. What do the shapes look like? You can keep or discard these sculptures. Music provides other ways for your imagination to play. You do not need to be a musician to use music creatively. Imagine what a soundtrack to your current moment or day would sound like if you were in a movie or television show. What music would be playing as you do your work, or as you take care of your child? What would the music sound like if you were angry, happy, or sad? Writing gives you additional opportunities to exercise your imagination. Look at photographs and write captions for them describing what you see. Watch cats or dogs, or any other animals in your environment, and think about what they could be saying when they communicate. Imagine also what thoughts they could have when they are silent. Write down these little scenes.

For another writing exercise, think up ways to improve on works of fiction such as films, tv shows, or books you have seen or read. Give them differ-ent endings or beginnings, or take the plot twists in a different direction. In your new version of the stories, would you give the fiction piece a cliffhanger where the writers gave a solid conclusion? Would you have the characters say different lines?

Stream of consciousness writing allows you to let out a flow or expression and tap into your imagination without any planning. Write down the first thing that comes to your mind and continue writing in that fashion. Do not edit as you write. Just let the words tumble out.

There are many ways to work through obstacles to our creative thinking. We can use visual art, music, and writing to ignite our creativity and let our im-agination flow. The next time you find yourself having trouble expressing your creativity, try some of these exercises and see where they lead your thoughts. The results could surprise you.
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