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21 Ideas to Increase Your Creativity

What new things are you doing to boost your creativity this year?
Developing your creative muscle is filled with mostly wonderful unintentional side effects.

We'll leave the less-than-wonderful side effects for a conversation for another day. 😊

Something happens when spring comes that invites me to doing, exploring and investigating new creative ideas, projects, goals, activities, even adventures. I don't know if it's the warmth or the sun or the new growth or Easter or the fresh flowers or everything, but life seems to perk up. A lot.

That's why I start really digging into goals and looking to do new things in the spring. In the winter months I buckle down to the comforting things, but spring is the time to adventure out and take some creative risks.

This is the perfect time to set your mind to doing new things for a more creative 2021.

Twyla Tharp said, "Creativity is a muscle. Use it and grow."

So what are you going to do to make increase your creative muscle in 2021? Here are some ideas to inspire you.

Here are 21 ideas to propel you into more creativity this year.

1. Pull out a hobby you love and learn a new way of doing it.
My friend Karen taught me a new way to make journals that is fun and easy and fast! I've done the visual "Joyful Journals" a certain way the past few years and it's been good and fun.
But learning this new journaling method (which doesn't require any stitching or fancy tools) brought a fresh breath of energy and life to my love for journaling

2. Go for a quick burst creative energy by reigniting a hobby from your early years.

Take on a hobby you haven't done since childhood or the teen years. 
I hadn't embroidered since my teen years, but when my youngest sister decided to sew stuffed animals for Christmas presents, I decided I would "make" some gifts too. It was already December and I didn't have the bandwidth to learn and execute a new skill, so I pulled out an old one I knew I could start quickly: embroidering designs on dishtowels.
The funny thing is, I didn't even like embroidery as a teen, but I love it now and I'm so much faster. I was able to get several done for the holidays and continued with it in January. Decided they would make fun housewarming and hostess gifts in 2021.

3. Pick up a biography. Not a new one, but someone who lived in a bygone era.
Fashion icon, business person, historical figure, writer, it doesn't matter. It's amazing what people had to handle. Resiliency, creativity, and grit was part of their everyday lives. Because there were so many more unknowns, there was a common understanding that life is full of risks and uncertainties and one goes on despite those unknown factors.

4. Wear a new accessory that is unusual, brighter or something a bit different.
A friend, Krislyn, gave me earrings she made that are a bit more blingy than I normally wear. I gotta say, I have a bit of bounce when I put them on!

5. Make your own journal to record memories in.
I love journaling so much. When Karen taught me how I could make the journal instead of using a scrapbook or old book, I was all in. With a 9x12 manila envelope, leftover scrapbook paper, ribbon, the envelope, a glue gun, and a few random odds and ends (stickers, paperclips), I created a journal in under an hour! What a fun way to store pictures, monthly highlights and more! I've always loved visual journals but doing it in a different medium reinvigorated my energy and excitement to capture memories.

6. Create a vision board of a beloved topic.
It doesn't need to be a goal board. Perhaps it's ideas for a garden, or a collection of colors and pictures singing to you right now. Cutting, collecting, and putting together the collection may surprise you with the ideas and momentum it brings. I've created my own way of creating different visual boards over the years, but I noticed Jeanne Oliver is launching a class on her process. Check out her upcoming class, "Gathered," where she will be teaching her process. It looks amazing!

7. Change up your workout or walking schedule – different time of day, different class, different teacher, or technique. Studies show exercise has a huge effect on our ability to think creatively, problem solve besides the normal health benefits we normally associate with exercise.


8. Be intentional about noticing things in nature.
What greenery is persistent in growing in the winter months? Note the sturdiness of the evergreens in the cold months, the way the birds search and collect food, the raw starkness of the leaves stripped bare of their coverings. Press leaves, take notes in a journal, or pictures to record your discoveries. (Don't forget to print your pictures).

9. Make a list of 21 things you want to do in 2021.
It doesn't have to be goal oriented accomplishments (but it could be). The 21 things could be books read or planting different vegetables or supporting different local restaurants you've never frequented).


10. Bring in fresh flowers in different places in your home. Separate a bouquet in different vases and spread them throughout the home in unexpected places.

11. Take all of the unfinished art or the art you didn't like: cut it up and create a collage.

12. Buy a magazine and cut out words and pictures that inspire you. Tape them on the mirror or the dashboard of your car.

13. Write a letter a week to a friend or family member. Doodle designs on the envelope and write an fun note on the inside flap of the envelope. Add in stickers, a photo, a piece of your art.

14. Introduce yourself to a neighbor you haven't met. If you're feeling brave, bring a handmade gift, a small piece of your art, flowers from your garden or something else. There's something expansive at getting out of my own world and reaching out to others (and letting them reach out to you). This does not come naturally for me, but it gets easier with practice.

15. Break down the sense of walls and isolation between you and your colleagues, neighbors, and family. Be creative with random quick phone calls, outdoor gatherings, bring your own chair to parks, nature areas etc. I've seen so many "tail gating" small gatherings in parking lots this year! Now that the weather is warmer, I'm anticipating some outdoor "spring teas" and coffee get togethers.

16. Change your color palette of your wardrobe or a room or the office.

The 80/20 rule applies to so many areas of our life. You don't necessarily need to buy things. Pull out colors you don't normally wear or change a few things in a room. Switch up the art or paint a bold color on a few canvases and use them to decorate a room along with a change in the furniture setup.

17. Take a class of something you're curious about and maybe even a bit intimidated. (Interested in learning how to paint flowers? Sign up for my free spring bouquet class here!)


18. Paint out your "word of the year" or favorite quote in watercolor.

Add in doodles, flowers, shapes with micron and gel pens. For an alternative project, rip out magazine pictures/ scrapbook paper and create the words with pieces of paper.

19. Plan a day trip to a local museum, celebrated garden, vintage stores, etc.
My friend Kinsay and I were discussing several "touristy" things to do in our city that neither of us have seen: historical homes (they're gorgeous), local hobby farms, that sort of thing. It's amazing how easy it is to overlook local museums, gardens, historical homes. Be a tourist in your own town or city for a day!
Things are opening slowly where I am with limited capacities. This means I may not be able to be as spontaneous as I normally would be. Just a note if you tend to wait until the last minute to run to a museum like I sometimes do.

20. Start a project that scares you or has felt 'too big' for the year.
Could be anything from baking through Paul Hollywood's Baking book, learning a new language, making five new friends, starting a writing group, finishing your degree, buying a home, reading all of the Jane Austen books, planning a trip to see your sponsored kids in Uganda. What might 2021 hold for you?

21. Set aside an hour every week for intentional thinking and imagination time.
Be a kid again. No worrying or fretting or making of lists or planning how to do things. Think and imagine! Don't worry if it's hard at first, that's normal. As C.S. Lewis said, "Some day you'll be old enough to read fairy tales again." In the bleak and sobering circumstances of the world, so many of us – myself included – have "grown up" so much that we don't even believe that good wins, that beauty is essential to the thriving of our world, that beauty matters terribly, and the fairy tales may be based more in reality than some of modern editorials and commentary on human existence. Allowing ourselves to develop our imagination and ability to think is not only important work but essential for our flourishing.

Remember, the external chaos is just that: external. We have lots of influence over our own spheres of life and what goes on there.
I'm starting to move out of the fog of my own life as the year progresses.

I'm excited to see the growth in skills, attitude, and life for all of us in 2021!

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