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10 Daily Routines For Honing Your Creativity

Source | FastCompany : By CHAD HALVORSON

Creativity can be as elusive as it is rewarding. Inspiration usually lies just beyond the intellect’s reach, sparking our best work and sneaking away when we need it most—right before that big deadline.

Our daily routines can either nurture or hold back our creativity. With a little practice, you can get into habits that ignite your imagination more often.

1. GET UP EARLY—OR STAY UP LATE

Creative people typically fall into one of two categories: late to sleep or early to rise. When Mason Currey researched his book, Daily Rituals, he found that one-third of the 161 notable artists he researched got up before 7 a.m. Tony Morrison, Anaïs Nin, and Frank Lloyd Wright fit into this camp, digging into their creative endeavors first thing. Picasso and Jack Kerouac, on the other hand, preferred to burn the midnight oil.

If you have a day job, it may be hard to work from midnight to dawn like Kerouac, but you could give it a shot. Whatever you do, it’s important to find your ideal creative time and stick to it. Pick the hours when your energy is high and distractions are minimal, and give your creative work undivided attention for that block of time.

2. WRITE YOURSELF AWAKE

Every day, creators of various stripes get up and jot down stream-of-consciousness thoughts until they’ve filled three pages. As Julie Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, explains, “These daily morning meanderings are not meant to be art. Or even writing.” Rather, Cameron says, they “map our own interior,” mucking through the thoughts that “stand between you and your creativity.” The habit isn’t just for writers, either. Artists, playwrights, actors, painters, and others all use this simple routine to invigorate their creativity before they start their days.

3. FIND A SLICE OF SOLITUDE

The emergence of open-office plans in recent years has left the impression that collaboration is the root of all innovation. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Open-office plans typically lead to increased distraction and diffused focus. True creative work requires what one writer calls a “fertile solitude” that sharpens your attention rather than divides it. When you want to foster creativity, go solo. Carve out some time to commune with your thoughts without other voices getting in the way. Whatever your artistic pursuit, solitude should be a part of it.

4. WARM UP

Most creatives take some time to loosen up and get the juices flowing. Singers will stretch their vocal chords with scales, and musicians will tune their instruments.Chris Ofili, a British artist starts his work the same way every day. As a New York Times profile explains, “First, he tears a large sheet of paper, always the same size, into eight pieces, all about 6 by 9 inches. Then he loosens up with some pencil marks.” Warming up gives your mind the time to shift into a different state of being. If you’re a graphic designer, warming up may mean playing with your software for a few minutes before you dive into your work. Think of how you can ease into your creative time for optimal results.

Read on…

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