Late one evening, when I no doubt should have been reading about ‘Design for Emotion’, the ‘ABC Effect’ or something else intellectual, I came across an entry on the addictive blogging website Tumblr. It was simply entitled “33 ways to stay creative”.

The dictionary defines the word creative as “relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work”.

The key focus is imagination, something created by you that’s innovative, perhaps exciting, colourful, exuberant and/or interesting. However, ultimately being creative is about being expressive and conveying or evoking an emotional response from the participator or anyone else touched by your creative buzz.

Reading the 33 points I was in sound agreement, noting that many of them are part of our everyday lives such as, “make lists…have fun” and “sing in the shower” (even if we may not all wish to admit it).

But there were others, some targeted at us ‘creative’ types who are a tad more “otherworldly” and “carry a notebook everywhere”, that raised some points that could be adopted by anyone, creative or not, imaginative or not.

Tips like “practice, practice, practice” might seem a little repetitive and commanding but it couldn’t be closer than the truth in any walks of life. If you want to be a great athlete, you won’t get there without great determination and passion, a desire to be as good as you can be.

Now if we’re honest with ourselves the way to achieve that (or any other similar goal) is simply to practice, practice, practice and not forgetting the all-important mentality of “not give up” and “take lots of breaks”.

“Listen to new music” and “watch foreign films” can develop your tastes, broaden your knowledge and opinions. If nothing else immersing yourself in something different can be a refreshing change and provide great conversation starters.               

It’s the simplicity of these 33 ways to be creative that’s the key to their success and only a little change could have a great effect, even if it’s not creativity that you’re after.  I’m not saying go out there and “break the rules” but perhaps just bend them enough to see the other side, take the initiative and live a little.

So I took some advice from this myself and decided that for once I should actually try and finish something I started or intended to start. So here goes…

The list in full:

1. Make lists
2. Carry a notebook everywhere
3. Try free writing
4. Get away from the computer
5. Be otherworldly
6. Quit beating yourself up
7. Take breaks
8. Sing in the shower
9. Drink coffee/tea
10. Know your roots
11. Listen to new music
12. Be open
13. Surround yourself with creative people
14. Get feedback
15. Collaborate
16. Don't give up
17. Practice, practice, practice
18. Allow yourself to make mistakes
19. Go somewhere new
20. Watch foreign films
21. Count your blessings
22. Get lots of rest
23. Take risks
24. Break the rules
25. Do more of what makes you happy
26. Don't force it
27. Read a page of the dictionary
28. Create a framework
29. Stop trying to be someone else's perfect
30. Got an idea? Write it down
31. Clean your workspace
32. Have fun
33. Finish something


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