Cultivating creativity takes determination, discipline and devotion. In a PsychCentral.com article, Margarita Tartakovsky shared information regarding Dr. Eric Maisel who has coached a wide variety of individuals from authors, to musicians to lawyers in the art of cultivating creativity. In his latest book, Making Your Creative Mark, Dr. Maisel addressed several ways to reach your creative goals. This article will discuss his advice and also provide 10 ways to cultivate your creative expertise.
#1 Design a Specific Ritual
Dr. Maisel advised that crafting a starting ritual for your day is vital to assist in cultivating creativity through a daily routine activity. Basically, starting with this ritual conveys to your brain that you are prepared to begin creating. There are a variety of rituals that you can start. However, you need to design one that works best for you. Some ideas are to listen to a specific song, utilize breathing and relaxation techniques or meditate.
#2 Embrace the Challenge to Create
In order to cultivate your creative expertise, you need to daily embrace the challenge to create. According to Dr. Maisel, if you want to find success in this area, you need to make a decision to challenge yourself creatively each day. For example, even if you only work creatively for 30 minutes a day, that is a start. Make a plan to challenge yourself to be more creative during the next two week time period.
#3 Change Your Perspective
In addition to determination and discipline, cultivating creativity also takes passion and devotion to your craft. Change your perspective from focusing solely on discipline and begin to embrace your passion for the creative process. Dr. Maisel used a statement made by Luciano Pavarotti to make his point. “People think I’m disciplined. It’s not discipline, it’s devotion. There’s a great difference.” Find the balance between embracing a cohesive meshing of discipline and devotion.
4. Think Outside the Box
Sometimes it takes thinking outside the box to jump-start your creativity. During the “priming-the-pump” stage, interview yourself by asking a specific question which will get your stream of consciousness flowing.
#5 Focus on Creativity Not Criticism
Constructive criticism is a good tool for helping you grow as an artist. However, during the creative process, criticism is not your friend. Dr. Maisel advised that you should “be your own best supporter” and focus on your abilities and complete your artistic projects. Doubting yourself and your abilities will ruin the entire creative process. Focus on positive thoughts regarding your ability to create.
#6 Become an Expert on Yourself
During the creative process, you will most likely experience periods of blocked creativity. Writers call this “writer’s block.” As an author, artist or other creative person, you must utilize those blockages to become an expert on yourself. The better you come to know who you are and what makes you tick, the more you will be able to deal with creative blocks. Dr. Maisel advised that you need to ascertain specifics on when you get blocked, whether it’s during certain projects or time of year and how you react during those times.
#7 Manage Your Anxiety
Anxiety over success and possible failure can cause you to doubt yourself and your abilities to succeed in the creative process. It is vital that you learn how to manage your anxiety while you try to harness your creativity. You must find ways specific to your own needs which will help you to relax and decompress, moving on from the anxiety.
#8 Utilize the Morning Hours
According to Dr. Maisel, tapping into your “sleep thinking” can open up a world of possibilities to your creative side. He suggests that you utilize the morning hours to begin the creative process. In the early morning hours, your brain still has access to all of the information your mind has been contemplating during the night.
#9 Plan Your Strategy
Dr. Maisel advised that you should plan your strategy during a brainstorming session. Utilize pen and paper or a digital file to make a listing of the following three parts of the process: “starting”, “working”, and “completing”. In each of these three columns you will list the wide array of strategies that you think of which will help your specific situation and creative process.
#10 Leave Talent on the Back Burner
Of course, talent is important if you want to become extremely successful. However, as a writer, I find great solace in this final piece of advice from Dr. Maisel. He advised that you should “forget about talent and concentrate on showing up.” Now, he’s not invalidating talent. Rather, he’s advising us to focus on the creative process instead of psyching ourselves out, thinking we have no talent and can’t finish projects.
In her article, Margarita Tartakovsky expanded on Dr. Maisel’s advice by saying, “Creativity isn’t some mysterious or murky marvel. It’s a process.” Her statement is valid and as an author, I have found that creativity truly is a process. It takes a balance of devotion to your craft, as well as discipline to do the work and a dogged determination to see the process through to completion.