Monday, June 11, 2018

5 Things to Spark Creativity When You Don't Feel Innovative, Original, or Artistic

I believe everyone can create. I work at a DIY boutique where we often have people tell us they are afraid to tackle a project that needs to be done because they "aren't creative" or "artistic." Now you absolutely don't need those traits to be able to pull off a furniture makeover but I also just don't believe it when people say that.

Is your house completely undecorated? Can you not put an outfit together to leave the house? Is nothing planted in your yard? Have you never helped your kid with a science project that involved poster board? What is this lack of creativity you speak of? 

I'm not buying it. 

I think it's just a limiting belief. If you haven't heard of "limiting beliefs" yet they are things that we believe that aren't true but keep us from doing things.

I could never write a book. 
I could never make a quilt. 
I could never travel alone. 
I could never give a speech. 
I could never run a marathon. 

Now not wanting to do something, let's say, run a marathon, is one thing. Because why would anyone want to do that? This is why people tamed horses and invented cars! I have no desire to run 26 miles. But you know what? I also absolutely believe that I could if I wanted to. As a matter of fact, I know that if I were willing to train and make the time sacrifice I could complete a grueling race. I just have no desire to do that.

That's very different. 

The problem arises when we have limiting beliefs about things we want or need to do. Maybe you don't put in for that promotion at work because it would mean speaking to larger groups and you believe you can't do that.

Maybe you would love to just make one quilt from your daughter's childhood dresses but you believe you could never make a quilt.

How sad would it be if you longed to travel somewhere you have always dreamed of going and you don't because you have no one to go with and you believe you couldn't travel alone?

Girl. We are talking seriously sad right there. So how do you go about increasing creativity if you don't exactly feel like Picasso? Here are 5 things to do today to get your creative juices flowing:

1. Write down 10 creative ideas every day for a week. They don't have to be things you'd actually do, the point is to start feeling creative. So while you might not paint a giant mural of your grandson's face on the side of your house, you can write that down.  Plan a trip around the world where you visit all the best bookstores, invent an app to solve a problem you have, or you could be all original and put down "write a book."

2. Doodle. You might already do this while you are on the phone or in a boring meeting at work. I'm sorry if you have to sit in boring meetings especially if there is fluorescent lighting. But start to pay attention to what you are doing and be a little more intentional. Maybe even buy a special notebook for your doodles. You don't have to share them, although I'd love to see what you're up to!

3. Rearrange the stuff in your house. Moving furniture to new locations and taking pictures down to rethink how things are put together is a great way to start thinking about things in a new way. Your husband and kids are also going to be so excited that they get to help! If you think this isn't how they want to spend their Saturday, then you can take the guerilla decorating route. Read Guerilla Decorating: A 5 Step Guide.

4. Paint something. Don't panic I'm not talking about traveling to the countryside with your easel and beret. But that certainly sounds like a plan!  Sometimes painting something practical like a room or piece of furniture can spark seeing how different color alone can make things. You aren't painting the Sistine Chapel! Just start on a small table or nightstand. If changing the color of a whole room makes you queazy just introduce color on an accent wall.

5. Put together new outfits. You don't have to go shopping. Download one of several free wardrobe apps. I use Pureple. Take pictures of all your clothes and accessories. If you want to create a dream wardrobe then screenshot your favorite clothes from websites. Use the app to put together outfits complete with all the jewelry and accessories. It feels like paper dolls for grown-ups.

Most of us start out as children being quite creative, but it gets squeezed out of us by sitting still in classrooms and learning to be afraid to fail at things. As adults, we've been trained not to try things we think we might not be any good at. Try this. Sit quietly in a corner somewhere and think about all the things you enjoyed doing as a kid. How did you spend your time? What did you make? What did you try?

In the next post, I'll be sharing my favorite reads for getting out of a non-creative rut.


  1. Ahhh this is so good. I needed to read this. I need to read it over and over, in fact, I'm going to print this, cut those 5 tips out and put them in the book I keep quotes in! Thank you for sharing it.

    1. I'm so glad you like it! Even for people who think of themselves as creative you can get stuck once in a while. I made someone's quote book? Dang! That's so cool!


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