Creativity has become some kind of buzzword lately. Along with “innovative” or “cutting edge,” it’s just something people say and nobody really understands.

Defining creativity is futile. But it doesn’t stop me from trying. I’ve come to the conclusion that creativity is more of a lifestyle, somewhat aligned with spirituality.

Being creative helps you understand yourself and your relationships; helps you look within and translate the world around you, creating meaning and often, finding purpose. If I had to pick a buzzword, I would say, living a creative lifestyle helps you with your “mindfulness.”

Here are 5 ways you can live a more creative lifestyle.

These tips are rooted in writing because I believe that writing is the key that unlocks your creativity, whether you’re a writer, painter, musician or jewelry maker.

Keep one thing in mind as you read on: don’t over think or worry about the results of these exercises. You’ll never really know where or how they will end up in your work and in your life.

1. Observe
Just like it sounds, train yourself in the ancient art of observation. And there’s only one way to do that. Notice and write. Notice the small things around you – the woman walking with a cane and a dog on a leash, or how that one light bulb fixture in the off-beat café is just a little askew to the rest – and write them down as notes. Even if you’re good at observing the world around you, when you take it a step further and write it down, you are training it into habit. Notice and write down 3 things per day.

2. Wonder
Curious about something? The answer cannot be no. Everyone’s curious about something. If nothing comes to mind, it’s probably because you haven’t put that much importance into it. Curious how they make band-aids? Look it up. Watch some videos. And then, you guessed it, write in your notebook (you should have one by now) how they make band-aids. That might an inconsequential example, but now, imagine being curious about Lebanon’s role in World War I and what life was like then. You’ll be surprised by how many characters pop up just from a little research.

3. Ask
Ask questions about what you consider to be your creative work. Have a project going on right now? Ask yourself questions about the project itself – why am I painting this subject? What makes me so obsessed with this track while I compose this particular piece of music? Also ask yourself external questions: Will this offend people? Should I care? Write these down and speculate the answers. They are also known as your fears.

4. Immerse
Be alone. Totally alone. Put your phone away and be alone with yourself. Immerse in your surroundings (you can be in public) for at least 10 minutes. I bet you’ll enjoy it so much, a half hour will pass without notice. When you feel like it, open that notebook and …

5. Write
You saw this one coming, didn’t you? I call them morning pages, but I end up writing them at all hours of the day (see numbers 1-4). You can read more about the routine of writing in one of my previous blog articles or try some quick writing exercises, just for some creative fun.

These are small changes, but like so many things in life, it’s the small stuff that counts. Write on…


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