Fuel your creativity to fuel your problem-solving


As the school year wraps up, the trees start getting bigger leaves, and time gets more flexible. What are you doing to fuel your creativity?

So often we find ourselves in a rush and a rut. One day races into another. We look back and wonder what we really did. But at the same time we know we were really, really busy. So how can we squeeze in creativity?

A better question might be how can we skip developing our minds and interests?

If you find yourself grinding through day after day, your first step may be just brainstorming a quick list of how to fit in time for creativity.

The warmer weather means I have my kayak out on the water more frequently. The exercise gets my blood moving and my mind working as well. So I have learned to pack a small notebook and pen. About halfway through my paddling time, I stop in a quiet spot for a snack and some time to jot down ideas.

Sometimes it starts as just a brain dump of things I need to do, things I want to do and things I want to remember. Often, getting all that off my mind opens my thoughts to deeper considerations.

I need to see ideas spelled out in front of me to clarify them. At home I type. On the water or on the move, it’s paper and pen. As the words move across the pages, my thoughts move with them, sorting and arranging.

So what are you doing to fuel your creativity?

Reading, or more likely listening to audiobooks, often inspires me. Consequently I try to find worthwhile things, usually nonfiction to read. Learning how people have handled situations throughout history or dealt with personal struggles gives me ideas.

Is there an activity that so absorbs you that all the clutter in your mind starts to sort itself out?

I’m not a crafter, scrapbook keeper or woodworker, but I can see the concentration involved in such activities could fulfill two needs. Learning and growing in skill develops into even greater creative endeavors, thus fueling your creativity. At the same time, the mind develops problem-solving skills that can apply to other situations.

Perhaps visiting an art gallery or museum to appreciate the creativity of others fuels your imagination.

Make a list of problems you would like to solve. Then put it down and indulge in a creative activity. Look back at the list. Any ideas come to mind? Often they do.

Write a story or make one up to tell your children. Draw something. Doodle. Paint. Sculpt. Knit. Sew. Build something. Carve. Weave. Dance.

I wouldn’t call myself artistic. My kids would tell you I draw bad stick figures. But everyone, including me, can be creative. And I would argue should be.

So take a couple of minutes. Brainstorm about your creative skills and time to put them into your life on a regular basis. As your creativity develops, use the mental muscle you create to solve other issues in your life.

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