11 ways to flex your creative muscles

Everyone is creative and all we need to do to nurture creativity is… drum roll please… be creative. Simple, right?

It’s like body building. Not that I have any first hand experience of body building, but I’ve heard to tone muscles, body builders have to work out nearly every day. Some body builders may spend five minutes a day, others may spend five hours. In the end, a little time spent consistently will result in toned muscles. And the more you do it, the buffer your body will be.

It’s the same for creativity.

As a writer, I TRY to do something creative every day. Now it’s not always possible for me to sit down and work on my novel or write some poetry, but there are hundreds of ways to do something creative and it doesn’t have to take a lot a time. It just takes a little imagination.

Try out some (or all) of these activities to help flex your creative muscles.

NOTE: If you think some of these activities are a bit childish, you’re right! But that’s the point. When you were a kid, did you have trouble being creative? Not likely. You probably spent hours drawing or imagining your own inner world of fantastic adventures. So get out of your own way and let your inner child play for a while!

These activities are designed to stimulate your imagination and creativity. Go on… give it a go!

1. Squiggle it – Grab a piece of paper and draw a line, a circle and a squiggle of some sort anywhere on the page. Do it with your eyes closed if you can. Now Mr Squiggle-style make a drawing from the three elements on the page.You could do this with your roommate, partner or your kids, taking turns to make up squiggles on the bathroom mirror every day. Just don’t forget to use a whiteboard marker!

2. Unleash your inner child – Think back to when you were a kid, what did you do for fun? What gave you the most joy? Do that activity for at least five minutes today. Now if you no longer own a pair of maroon velvet roller skates improvise by skating around your living room in your socks and a pair of Ray Bans for extra nostalgia.

3. Travel anywhere in the world – What would you do if you had no limitations of talent, time, money, etc? Find a way to make that happen today. For example, want to travel to Paris? Buy some croissants and put on your favourite French film or music. Want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro? Check out the video below of a real Kilimanjaro trek before finding your own local trail to hike (or at the very least walk around the backyard). The idea is to use your imagination to get a flavour of these experiences into your every day.

4. Think pink or orange or cerulen… Pick a colour and think about everything that you love associated with that colour. For example, Pink: sunrises and sunsets, roses, my tongue, my favourite (an only) Chanel scarf, flamingos, rose quartz crystals, etc. Try to get as much of that colour into your day today. E.g. wear that pink Chanel scarf, eat watermelon (minus the scarf), make pink lemonade, wear rose coloured glasses… you get the idea.

5. Pluck out a poem or two – Write a poem about rain. Don’t worry about rhyming, just freestyle it. If you get stuck write one or two word phrases for each line. For example:

Drip, drip
like tears
On my cheek
Chasing rivers
Riding oceans
Looping drains
Drip, drip

Now, that took all of 20 seconds so please don’t judge the quality of the poetry. The point is to write in a different way to the way you would normally write to flex your creative muscles.

Make it more fun by picking an ordinary household object like an iron or a blender to write a poem about. I actually have a highly-graded poem about an iron (and Jim Beam bourbon) from my uni days but I might save that for another post.

If you’re feeling really bold, post your poems on Instagram #poetsofinstagram

6. Strut your superhero self – Imagine you are a superhero. What is your superhero name? What powers do you have? What costume do you wear? Do you have a sidekick or a super villain as your nemesis? Draw or describe your superhero self. Do this one with your kids or friends.

Think outside of the box on this one – is your superpower intuitive card reading or horticulture, or baking fabulous cakes? I can see it now… she ices five tier cakes in with a single piece of fondant – that is a feat! 

Go one step further and have a superhero night – dress up as your superhero self.

7. Choose your own ending to this story prompt – Maxine felt the familiar sense of dread rising from the pit of her stomach. The bile sticking at the back of her throat. She squeaked a timid plea for ‘help’. But it didn’t matter. There was no one to hear her silent scream. She was alone, except for the…

[Your turn to write the story]

Share your story via Instagram and tag me in @annetteloughlinsmith #chooseyourownending #maxineadventures

8. Bake a fur baby (not literally!) – Make cupcakes and decorate as your favourite animals – a great one if you have your own kids, or borrow a few neighbourhood kids if you’re not likely to get arrested. If baking seems all a bit hard why not make funny faces on your pancakes or the kids’ sandwiches. If you have a more sophisticated palette and Masterchef ambitions, host a dinner party and cook your own degustation menu. That should get your creative juices going!  

9. Mix n don’t Match – Go into your wardrobe and find your most mismatched items of clothing. Put them on (yes, you read that right) and wear them for the rest of the day. Add a wild hair-do for extra fun and keep note of stares, compliments, and comments about your attire.Why? Why the hell not? Getting away from the conventional is a lot of fun and gets you out of your rational, logical brain and into your emotive, creative brain. There are very serious benefits to being silly. Playful people tend to be more creative in problem solving and coming up with imaginative solutions. Check out the research here

10. Finger paint – Yep, no instructions needed on this one. You were doing this before you were talking! If you don’t have paint in the house, get creative Prohart-style with items you find in your fridge or your bathroom cabinet. I wouldn’t recommend finger painting on the living room rug though.

11. Your turn – It’s up to you to think of your own activity to flex your creative muscles. I’m sure you can think of 101 ways to get a boost of creativity into your day – comment below or tag me in on Instagram #creativitychallenge @annetteloughlinsmith

Can’t wait to see what you come up with. Happy creating!

This article was first published on The Women’s Pic.

Annette Loughlin-Smith is a writer, Reiki teacher and creative strategist. She works with women and businesses to help them find and sing their Soul Song. 

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