Inspiring Creativity: 9 tips to be more creative

9 tips to be more creative

As promised, I’m having a recap of what I talked about on Etsy’s Virtual Labs. The topic at hand was Inspiring Creativity, and so I’ll break it down to more manageable chunks about how to be more creative — remember all these ideas aren’t new at all, but these are the ones that worked for me to get me into gear:

About fueling creativity:

  1. Creativity is fueled by experiences, sights, sounds and smells. Sitting still won’t bring new ideas in; experimenting and trying new things will jog your creativity.
  2. I maintain a certain pattern to the day, with my morning bath signalling me that I am starting my work with a fresh mind and spirit. After breakfast is when my day officially begins — I turn on the radio and look at my to-do list (see #3).
  3. I jot down notes every night before I go to bed about what I need to accomplish the next day. This way, I’m actively placing my worries onto paper so I can go to bed not fretting about what needs to be done.
  4. I have a box labeled for each different project I’m involved in. So I toss everything I have in one box, and I don’t worry about misplacing things or ideas. This one was inspired by The Creative Habit
  5. I also keep a different sketchbook for different topics and ideas. I have one for business, one for random sketches and another for my writing. And in these sketchbooks I sometimes allocate different sections so that my thoughts don’t get messed up too much (there isn’t a search function on them, like a computer does!)
  6. And I throw these sketchbooks all over the place, so when I have a thought I scribble it down quickly.
  7. I try and find the pattern between things, and connect the dots between random things just for fun when I’m stuck in a rut. Like when I see the color yellow around me, and then I start to focus on finding yellow things — stuff that I didn’t notice before will show themselves to me. I’m heightening my sense of awareness because I’m narrowing my focus to one thing.
  8. Doing things differently helps. I love calligraphy, but sometimes I seem to be stuck in a rut — it seems that I could only write in a certain way! So I stop, and see what others are doing, and try to analyze what I could do differently. A little more pressure on the downward stroke? Or how about adding more flourishes to that letter? It took me about a week of constant practice to free up my hand. If you’re stumped for ideas, have a look at Keri Smith’s 100 ideas to get you started.
  9. Practice, practice, practice. Creativity is like a muscle that you need to flex regularly. I dread staring onto a blank piece of paper, but everything begins with that first stroke. I’m a perfectionist, so I train myself to not use erasers at all when I’m drawing. And if I do make mistakes, I start on a new piece of paper — that way I let new ideas in and not just dwell on what I previously did.

Here are some books in my collection that I pick up whenever I need a boost:

  1. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp : I love this book. Twyla is a dancer and choreographer, but a lot of the things she has to say cuts across all disciplines.
  2. How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum by Keri Smith : Keri reminds everyone to put on their explorer goggles and look at the world with new eyes — I did a review of her book here.
  3. Living Out Loud by Keri Smith : Although the book is a little girlish for guys, I love the article she wrote about how to find what you love to do
  4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho : This is an amazing book that I pick up and read again and again. The message is simple — you won’t find what you’re looking for until you follow through on your dreams.
  5. How to be an Illustrator by Darrel Rees and Nicholas Blechman : I like how they talk to illustrators and get their feedback on running a creative business.
  6. Lines & Shapes by Lena and Mav : Amazing artists and beautiful, beautiful pictures. I have volume no. 5 and I treasure it.
  7. The first issue of the Good to Know project : I like keeping a copy on my bookshelf so I can read up on what my friends have to say about being creatively stuck.

Stay tuned for the second part which I’ll be posting tomorrow It’s ready! Click here to read the second installment of my recap about competition and copycats!


p/s: Talking and reading all your thoughtful messages during the Virtual Labs session (especially the whispers that some of you passed on) made me feel so much better! But I do have to say that reading the chats while having to focus on talking was a little hard, mainly because I wanted so badly to talk back to each and every one! 🙂

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54 thoughts on “Inspiring Creativity: 9 tips to be more creative

  1. thanks friend you rock!
    i loved being in your Etsy Virtual lab. it was nice to meet you. your awesome and your advice is wonderful. this recap is even awesomer because i get distracted easily. but i would love to learn. i am new to having an etsy shop and this really helps. ♥

  2. I absolutely love these suggestions. Number 7 of the first list is my favorite! Focus is so necessary when working on projects everyday. And the great thing about art is that you will notice different things than everyone else…you’ll notice yellow, while I’ll notice circles…or even if we both noticed yellow, or responses would be so different.

    Thanks for this!

  3. Hi Amy! Thanks for arranging here all these great ideas for those of us who missed your Etsy Lab. I’m putting to practice #3 tonight! It’s incredible how much time I spend in bed thinking about what I have to do next day. Thanks again!

  4. What a great list, thanks Amy! Rut-buster no.7 sounds brilliant. I also love how the brain naturally makes connections between to completely random and disparate things, I find it often conjures up fresh ideas.

  5. Hey, I’m Sandra form Germany. I am always looking for “creativity tips”. Not these “How to”-Guides, but these one who manage to inspire you so that you get very own and new ideas. But you can hardly find something like this in German(y). But now, after I read all books of Keri Smith, I found your blog and I’m so happy about that. It’s just my taste of tips^^

  6. We all get is them, these are great. I have notebooks for all of my projects. Problem, I have a lot of notebooks. I love to read my older ones, they inspire me today. Thanks for all of the tips.

  7. Another good virtual lab that I missed?! I need to start writing down the lab schedules in a calendar! Great post and I’m so glad you included reading material. I really enjoyed The Creative Habit as well and can’t wait to look into the others you’ve suggested!

  8. Thank you for sharing these tips. I’m just realizing I need to write more stuff down so it’s not all jumbled in my head. Your tips for the different sketch books and writing a list before bed are perfect! Thank you!

  9. I wrote a blog on this about one month ago myself. I was stuck in a just staring sitting organizing re-organizing state. Finally my inside said…There is just to much inside. It wasn’t that I couldn’t think of something to make it was what do I make first?. So I got my big graph paper pad out with pencil in hand and got it all on paper. It worked great, This post is right on..TY

  10. Great tips! thank you very much for sharing 🙂 I found immediately a few things How-to improve myself of arrange my work day at home more effectively. *cheers!

  11. Creativity is a fickle creature and need careful nurturing. Sometimes it’s hard to get inspired. I’m stuck currently at a laborious project and want to do something else but can’t because it won’t get finished other wise.I find useful tidying and rearranging the work area, stucking pictures on the wall can help to me and it works. A little bit of cleaning can work wonders.

  12. Marj, I don’t think creativity levels are measured in lows and highs! I think it’s more of uncovering them slowly and exercising your creative muscles. They’ll get stronger everyday!

  13. I just went out to get some empty shoe boxes from the shoe store nearby because I’m using your tip #4. I’m going to need an awful lot of boxes! (oh, and I’m going to follow all your other tips too!)
    Thanks for this VERY helpful article =)

  14. Hi Amy and thank you for this advice. I have only just opened my Etsy Shop (from where I’ve linked to your blog) and need all the help I can get. You have encouraged me to look outside the box I’ve put myself into and your words have lifted my head 🙂 I’ve been stuck for way too long, so thanks a heap.

  15. Pingback: Getting out of the box: Etsy virtual labs recap #1

  16. Thank you soo much for all your recap ! this post is really great tips!
    i will bookmark and take a look for manage my site, coz i things its really inspiring for me…………..and you have good collection also, good job ! 🙂

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