Creativity: Get Uncomfortable

By Alina Chase

What is creativity but combining ideas, concepts and images in an imaginative way to “create” something fresh and exciting? And where does creative fuel come from? Life! The more of it we experience, the more our muses have to work with.


Think about it. Ten-year-olds can write imaginatively, but because kids have such limited perspectives, their stories are shallow. Now, this doesn’t mean we need five decades behind us to write with depth. It means that it serves us well at any age to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible to broaden our horizons. And the great news is we don’t need to complicate our lives in any way to do that. With zero time and effort, we can begin noticing and, therefore, experiencing more by doing what we already do—differently.


For an instant change in perspective, jog counterclockwise instead of clockwise around the park. At the coffee shop, forego your favorite table and sit elsewhere. Or try the shop two blocks away. Even changing where you sit in your own kitchen will change your view and, incidentally, engage your brain. (“Wow, I forgot to water the plant last month but it looks healthier than ever!”)


You can also use reading, surfing and television time to experience something novel. If you’re into fishing, check out quilting—why do people do this? (Quilters are asking the same about fishing.) If you’re a fantasy fanatic, just once, read a mystery. And why not check out a different news channel or buy an actual newspaper, perhaps one from a different city?


Comfy routines serve us well in that we don’t have to engage our brains in every mundane thing we do. That’s exactly why we want to shake things up. Remember, we’re not actively looking for new scenes or snippets of conversation to use in our writing, just feeding our creativity. Novelty itself ensures we notice more, engage more, absorb more. The muse will handle the rest.

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