Here are a few activities you can do to “exercise” your creative brainpower:
1. Feed your mind well – your mind will be a rich resource from which to draw creative ideas.
- Take lots of outdoor photos
- Read tons of books/novels, magazines, poems
- Visit websites and blogs
- Listen to different types of music
- Attend plays, ballets, musicals, etc.
- Visit art museums and attend special exhibits
- Engage in conversation with people (especially if you don’t know them very well)
- Go to the movies
- Keep brainstorming sessions short and focused
- Avoid judging your ideas – this is not the time to evaluate or edit your ideas. Instead, focus on quantity versus quality.
- Welcome crazy over-the-top ideas – practical thinking can generate predictable ideas. Over-the-top ideas often lead to clever solutions.
- Brainstorm using mind maps – also known as word maps. Here’s how…
- Grab a blank piece of paper
- Write your topic or creative challenge in the center of the paper and circle it
- As you begin to generate ideas, jot down the idea/thought, circle it, then connect it to the main topic/creative challenge using a line (see example below)
- Write additional ideas/thoughts regarding a particular idea close by and connect it to the “original idea” with a line (use of a circle is optional) (see example below)
- Write ideas until the ideas stop flowing freely
- Before reviewing or analyzing any ideas, take a break and let your mind “simmer” a bit. Brainstorming actively engages your brain and your subconscious will continue to “work on the challenge” while you are taking a break
- When you return, jot down any additional ideas generated during your break
- Evaluate your ideas
- Ideas just not flowing? Sometimes it takes awhile for your mind to get started, especially if you’re still thinking about your day. If your mind continues to draw a blank, change something. Change your pen. Move to another room. Get outside. Do this until your mind gets moving!
3. Keep an “Idea Book” with you – Buy a notebook or paper pad where you can capture your ideas and insights. Carry this notebook or paper pad with you at all times and add entries whenever the mood strikes you; resist from holding back until something profound comes to mind. Include words or sketches, tape a magazine cutout to a page with your notes. Keep it simple. Also, it’s okay to use this notebook for other things like grocery lists, reminders, etc.. The more you use your idea book, the more you’ll use it!
Go to the next post in my series: Day 25 & 26: Reflection