Creativity isn’t a big deal. It’s like our breath. It’s just a part of who we are. Some of us don’t realize this. People who say, “Oh, I’m not creative,” or “I don’t have a creative bone in my body,” sound to me like they’re trying to convince themselves of something, rather than telling themselves the truth. They make the idea of creativity a BIG DEAL because then it will stay safely at arm’s length out of reach and require nothing of them.

Again, creativity isn’t a big deal. It’s not an event. It doesn’t so much happen, as it is allowed. It comes out slowly.

When I found my dog, she had been badly abused. I was walking in the countryside, and she was watching me from a mound of dirt in an old church yard where she had been dumped. She started to follow me. If I turned around, she’d stop. If I tried to walk towards her, she’d tuck her tail under her butt and walk away from me. But if I moved along on my own way, she’d follow me. She eventually got closer and closer, and ultimately she followed me home.

This is how I experience creativity. Anytime I try to turn around and catch it, it turns away. It’s not about willing it. It rarely takes to announcements like, “Today I’m going to be creative! I’m going to write a whole song!”

In my experience, it’s a process. It is slow. Creativity is a way of being, and though it can’t be forced, it can be cultivated and allowed. It happens when I’m already open and my mind is receptive and quiet. There’s almost a joyful laziness to it. Kind of a “Hmm, well, what if I tried this…”

There is definitely a happiness to it. A deep happiness and peace. My theory is that when we cling to our vices, when we do unhealthy things that we adamantly say we deserve, what we’re really trying to do is give ourselves what we keep denying ourselves – a fully creative and artful life. Once we start allowing more creativity in, we might find some of those old habits and “vices” just fall away. After all, they are not a substitute for the real thing.

So, if you’re opening up to a more artful and creative life, know that it’s not something to push. It’s something to allow and live. Here are 21 Ways to be more creative, and subsequently, more happy!

1 – Stop watching television

Or better yet, get rid of the damn thing. Any time I teach writing or creativity, this is one of the biggies. TV is a mind-killer. It numbs you. It fills you with emotionally-charged images and over-simplified solutions. It dulls you. Turn it off. Even if this idea scares you, turn it off.

2 – Take a 20-minute walk everyday

It’s easy to become driven about exercise. You go to the Y. You go running. You think that a 20-minute walk isn’t productive or worth much. Take a 20-minute walk and allow the world to just be. Watch things. Stop and smell things. Notice birds. Let the world unfold and show itself to you.

3 – Write with pen & paper (or pencil and paper)

Keep a journal. Do morning pages. Write in long-hand. Typing on a keypad into a computer doesn’t always open up that tactile sense-loving part of us that loves to create.

I can sometimes get weirdly happy just hearing the sound the pen makes scribbling on paper. I also love it when the paper is thin, and my pen makes indents so it feels sort of Braille-y, and the paper makes a snappy sound when I turn the page.

4 – Write songs to your pets

At the first women’s retreat I ever facilitated, (at a college campus in St. Louis) a group of women sat on the floor one night in the dorm and sang each other the songs we’d written to our various pets. It was hysterical. The more we sat there, the more women came and sat down with us.

I’ve written many songs to my dog. Greatest hits include “Mom’s Little Girl,” “She Is Going to Be a Very Clean Girl,” (a bathtub song) and “She is Unbelievably Cute.” Of course, there’s also the “Good Morning Song.” My cats each have their own songs too. I actually make myself laugh as I’m creating them because my animals look so truly unimpressed with me.

It’s easy to do because you can do it anywhere – while you drive to work, while you make dinner, while you lie on the couch with them.

5 – Dance around the House

Put on old disco (Earth, Wind, and Fire, baby!), or new Madonna, or swing. Put it on loud. Dance around your house while you make dinner. Or start the day shakin’ your groove thang.

6 – Walk in the rain

I haven’t owned an umbrella in about 10 years. I love the rain. I love walking in it. I wrote the song Everything Green after I hiked in the mountains in the pouring rain. I was journaling about how alive everything was, and I wrote “It was all just rain and mud and wild and green.” That’s how I got my CD title. Walking in the rain can be a happy thing. (Use an umbrella if you want. Rain on umbrellas makes a good sound.)

7 – Make a collage

Magazines. Some Yes Paste. A scrapbook page and lots of crayons and paints and stickers. (And thou.) This isn’t a vision board. It doesn’t have a purpose. It’s just for fun and beauty and making something. I love collaging. I’m not great at it. But I’ve gotten better and better at laying out the page and learning what colors and shapes I love. I always feel more alive when I do one.

8 – Make a list of things you love

My song Loving Hands (on my first CD) was born out of a journal exercise I did where I just wrote a long list of all the things I love. That song remains one of my most requested songs. I had so much fun thinking of things that delight me in the world. Finding feathers, finding pennies, the sound of big flags flapping in the wind, the smell of my cat’s fur when she’s been out in the snow (she smells like a big box of wool mittens). I remember reading it to a friend of mine who just sat there smiling and nodding his head. Even though this was years ago, I still remember how much fun I had making that list.

9 – Write 10 postcards

Go pick out some really cool postcards, and then go to a cafe somewhere, and order your Genmaicha Tea (Okay, get yourself a Latte if you want) and write postcards to friends and family.

10 – Get up early and watch the sun rise

11 – Listen to music you’ve never listened to before.

After I saw the movie Tortilla Soup, I downloaded a bunch of Latin music from iTunes. One of my favorite nights in my memory this year was a hot rainy night thick with humidity. My husband and I opened up all the windows and doors. We pressure cooked (I love our pressure cooker) some black beans, shared a froo-froo mixed drink and made a fantastic dinner while all of my new Latin and Tejano music was cranked up. It was one of those really happy nights, partly because I loved discovering new music.

12 – Eat with your hands

Be a kid again. Make a meal and put the silverware back into the drawers. Eat with your hands. Have some friends over for a silverwareless dinner.

13 – Be quiet

Light a few candles after dark and just sit. Don’t meditate if you don’t want to. Just sit quietly and listen. Watch the candles. Allow for more silence in your life.

We are a noisy people. I hear people say they can’t stand silence. But it is in silence where we can hear the voice of our creativity. Maybe not at first. But it will come.

Drive with no music on. Make dinner in silence. Pay attention to your hands as you slice the veggies. Just be quiet.

14 – Take a nap

15 – Take photos. Real photos. Not digital photos.

My favorite camera is a Pentax K1000. It’s completely manual, and it’s how I learned to take pictures. I’m not very good. When I first moved to Asheville, I used to walk around town on Sundays (the whole town was closed up then) and take pictures of all the buildings. These photos are now a treasure to me because nothing is the same anymore. (Every building has been bought, remodeled and now is filled with stores that sell trickly fountains, Buddahs, and things that smell grassy.)

Take pictures of anything. And have fun in the old method of actually getting your film developed and the excitement of flipping through photos you haven’t seen yet.

16 – Make an event out of watching the full moon come up

One of the things I love about my husband is that he’s always looking for the perfect place to watch the full moon come up. He’ll make an event out of it. We pile in the car and go to this one field or to a bench on the college campus and sit and watch the moon rise.

17 – Read poetry aloud

Poetry is meant to be read aloud. The words and phrases will tilt your brain and open doors like you never thought they would. My favorites: Mary Oliver, e.e. cummings, Rumi, Pablo Neruda, Sharon Olds, Barbara Brooks, and Alicia Suskin Ostriker. There are lots of collections of poetry if you don’t want to pick just one.

18 – Go see a play or live music or live anything

Get out of the house and experience creativity. Avoid mega-blockbuster-Hollywood movies whose trailers begin with the deep gravelly voice saying, “IN A WORLD…” (And then bombs go off and Mel Gibson appears)

Live performance is an exchange. As an audience member you get to participate. I know this because I perform. Every night is different. Everything is about the audience. You receive so much more energy from live shows. Go see the symphony, even the small local symphony. See a play. See some improv. There is so much life on a stage, so many improvisational moments, so much about authenticity. You can’t help but take it in.

19 – Visit a gallery

See another artist’s creation. The downtown of any city is bound to have some great galleries. You don’t have to buy anything. Just experience the artistry of someone gifted in glass blowing or pottery or woodwork.

20 – Write a letter

When was the last time you wrote a letter? I just got a long letter from one of the women who participated in my last retreat. It was funny. And it was fun to read. And I kept thinking, “Damn. It’s been too long since I’ve experienced this.” Every time I write a letter, I feel clearer and happier. Not only is it more fun to make something for someone else, it’s also just a way to get out of yourself.

21 – Stop watching television

This is an important one. It bears repeating. There are so many better things you can do than watch American Idol.

Help each other out! Leave your own thoughts or ideas in the comments…

160 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • Faisal Wahab Khan

    Pen, paper and a silent space but you can also get creative using these apps https://mobiwoz.com/best-10-creativity-apps-to-get-your-juices-flowing/. Smartphones do help.

  • Cynthia

    Great post! Thank you for sharing these wonderful and easy ideas to coax out our muses. Your dog analogy is perfect.

  • fida

    hay Christine. why do you not add reading as such important factor for increasing creativity? but anyway i love this article ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Chukwuemeka

    To be more creative in life one need to leave sum certain things so that someone can achieve what someone really want. In sum case one need to stop making bad friends and follow the good friends that will even make you to be more creative and more knowledgable.

  • Paul Wilson

    Christine- Thank you for this article. It was beautifully done. I love your written voice. I teach entrepreneurship at a university in Hawaii. I made your article required reading. I want my students to understand the importance of creativity when thinking of an idea to start a business. Again Mahalo! ~Paul

  • monika

    i loved it..but the thought of not watching tv..makes me scare..but ill try and yeah i agree with the point tht its not something tht we need to push on..it will come out slowly

  • Monika

    just reading this made me somehow even more excited for this weekend, I was planning to spend it alone in our weekend house, now I know I am going, and even better I wont go by car, but on foot through the forest, it is only 45 minutes walk up the hill and I was planning some projects on this weekend and I know that this walk, and your article will pump my creativity even more.

  • Shaun Rosenberg

    Very cool, this article got my creative juices flowing and so I decided to create my own list of things you can do to be creative. It turned into a blog post itself.

    http://www.shaunrosenberg.com/101-fun-activities-to-boost-creativity

  • Branden Barnett

    Christine,
    This is an awesome list of creativity boosters. I think people get to analytical and forget that creativity is play therefore the activities to spark creativity should be fun and playful. So much of making your art is about getting out of your own way and reducing the anxiety of failure and uncertainty. I’m a licensed psychotherapist, songwriter and blogger over at http://www.artistictreatment.com and I am constantly reminding myself to loosen up, make it play and forget the results sometimes. It’s the only way to get started.

  • Victoria

    I have dyspraxia, and find using a pen and paper difficult as I get hand cramps after several minutes of serious writing – I also can’t write more than 8/10 words per minute without it being a scribbled, incomprehensible mess (and even that isn’t so many more words per minute).

    I love writing though, and my English is great. Perhaps an addendum for people with learning difficulties?

  • Jordan Coeyman

    Hey check out my website, I actually just wrote an eBook about this exact topic!

  • Kevin

    This was a great read with awesome advice. The first thing I did after reading it was delete my Netflix app from my phone. I can personally speak to #18. Last night I went and saw a broadway musical with a group from work and it was amazing how just sitting and watching something like that could give you so much energy. I am going to try and make it a point to do more things like that.

    Thank you again for writing this.

  • yotam

    Quite a good list.
    Got here cause it’s a long while since I started feeling
    that I don’t have enough creativity in my life. it’s been more than
    a decade since I abandoned television and I never missed it.
    I loved the writing letters and sending postcards, so true.
    I would definitely add ‘reading books’ to your list to make it complete.
    thank you !

    yotam

  • Chetan Sinha

    your article is really very creative. Thanks for sharing. I agreed to all of your point. TV is really a distraction of mind. TV, is useful only when, you are looking for business news or for refreshment for an hour.Your every organ must be active, if you really wanna be more imaginative and creative.

  • Daphne Encarnacion

    I loved reading this article once I began to read it
    I couldn’t stop it’s like a magnet your words are
    Very expressive and you have a big imagination
    I find myself to be very creative I think this will
    Help me become even more creative and see things
    Differently thank you so much for This !

  • Jessica

    Hey. Thanks for the tips. It sounds like a great list. I’m just a teenager and i like art, music and literature. People tell me that I have a lot of natural talent in these things, and i know there’s something about them that i just love for no particular reason. They all are a retreat for me – a source of peace and relaxation. The only thing is that i feel that I lack creativity…for example if you gave me a blank page and told me to be creative, i’d have a harder time thinking up something creative to draw than if you gave me a page and a picture to copy…i could copy it pretty well. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately…how i can copy other people’s creativity but never create or express my own. To be honest, it’s absolutely devastating to be holding myself back in this way. I like your ideas though and I’m going to try them! You sound like a very happy and creative person simply from the article!

    And just in response to @Mel’s comment about TV – It is a different thing entirely to create something as opposed to viewing it. Having someone create something wonderful and imaginative and then show it to you does not mean you will automatically become more creative because someone is being creative FOR you rather than you being creative for yourself. I agree that content on the TV may expand one’s ideas, but i don’t think that automatically means one can create new ideas on their own. TV can be a great way to expand your ideas, but the thing is that it’s easier to view someone else’s creations than to create something of your own. Since our western society is becoming more and more drawn towards the easier options, of course people are going to choose having the TV entertain them in their spare time rather than creating a way to entertain themselves…and that leaves no time for them to be creative.

  • Mel

    The TV part is very misguided. Of course there’s a lot of horrible stuff that shows on TV, but ever heard of animation? It’s a form of art. Dreamworks, Pixar, Disney? Ever heard of those? Certain programs and movies can be very stimulating for the imagination, specifically animation… since animation itself is the results of pure creativity.

  • Romy Singh

    Hi,

    I always dreams to be more creative person, so that I can do my work with more finishing. And this article shown me the exact way to walk on if I want to be more creative person.

    So a big thanks for all these interesting ways, they all are sounding great and soon going to try each and every put to see that which works more effectively and gets into my creative list.

    So a big thanks for sharing all these wonderful tips with us.

  • Rupert

    Thanks for this post. And I used to say the same that you mentioned at the top–“I am not creative at all “. But I am impressed by your post. And I am trying to follow all things that you have advised. Just to bring out the “creative personality” in me.

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  • Victor

    Hi, thank you for sharing this wonderful tips to be creative however I want to clarify that; is it important to take you ideas down on a paper instead of computer and tab, agree with the fact that these electronic gazs are not handy every time, but there should not be ground rule for this….and yes the T.V. part, I could not take it……I can’t live without this this is the best source of getting the new ideas….not hard feelings plz…….plz reply……

  • Milan

    I’ve never been more excited to follow steps in my life! Thanks!

  • abdul highe khan

    thanks for ur nice suggestions. i will try to follow. may be it will take long time. but i am hopeful.

  • Danish

    I love it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Christine, thank you for this post! I stole one of your tips, for my article:

    http://theadventurouswriter.com/soar/best-ways-to-think-more-creatively-maya-angelou/

    I hope you don’t mind — I gave you full credit and a link ๐Ÿ™‚

    Laurie

  • Lynne

    Yeah I disagree about tv. Don’t get me wrong, there is alot of rubbish on it, but there are good shows too and movies that are stimulating. I am an animator so watching tv and films etc is good for reference.

  • kp

    I haven’t read the article completely, but I want to point out that anything you do can lead to a stunt in creativity, if done passively. Reading, for example, without analyzing what you read and just mindlessly looking at words will not grow your creativity. Watching tv, on the other hand, while actively piecing together information and thinking through the program, will inevitably cause you to grow in creativity. To say that you should chuck the tv just b/c most people mindlessly watch it borders on going against the very essence of creativity. These are just two examples, but it’s all about the attitude that goes into what you do that determines how idea grow.

  • timothy gathii gicharu

    Thats absolutely helpful. God bless you. Cheers!

  • Mary Jo

    Hurray for lists! Esp. filled with beauty and fun! I’d like to add:
    Play with your kids – WITH them, not next to them or watching them
    spin in the grass
    stare at clouds
    paint your toenails in multi-colors

  • James Lee

    Thank you for the advice!
    I’m going to start doing this stuff, Im in Rhode Island, When I comeback to California I’m going go for a walk and wake up at 5 to see the sun rise.
    — JL

  • Hannah

    Hi!,
    Wow! I disagree with that TV thing. Tv can make you be more creative. It’s not just mindless. You can learn from television and laugh with television. If you study these other creative minds on tv and observe how they act, you might have a better understanding on what your own style is. TV isn’t just idol idol idol it’s more. I am 14 years old and love TV. I’ve been watching latenight tv and seriously feel more creative. I research these people and see where they started and maybe read some of their quotes and thoughts on how they are who they are. I’m watching Kimmel right now and feel better. I do strongly agree with the take a walk thing though.

    • Tracy

      I also disagree with the TV thing. The blanket “it is all bad; don’t watch it” is its own over-simplified solution. I did not own a TV from 1997 to 2004. My creative output was certainly higher than it is now, but it was also simultaneously pretentious and insipid. It was fueled by the knowledge that I was too good for TV, that I, of all people, recognized that all it did was dumb the mind. None of that life-wasting time in front of the tube for me! My work now, when I spend a modest amount of time watching television that engages and affects me, is stronger, humbler and, frankly, better.

      I learned volumes about how to pace a story and develop characters from watching “The Wire.” Plus, it helped me be at peace with the realities of working. I learned how to start an amazing story (and then kill it) from “Lost” and “Battlestar Galactica.” “Twin Peaks” taught me that you can love a character who horrifies you. The first seasons of “The L Word,” “Veronica Mars” and “Dexter” taught me volumes about how a long narrative can move, change and ultimately surprise you.

      Plus, think of all the creative people who work in TV. The writers who are behind shows like “Mad Men.” The make-up artists on “The Walking Dead.” The set dressers and property masters who make settings real. The special effects wizards behind “Fringe” and “Doctor Who.” All the actors who bring beloved characters to life. The directors who knit all that together. Saying “It numbs you … It dulls you … Turn it off” completely devalues all of their work and achievements.

      The constant “TV is bad, kill it” in the creative community makes me glad I’m not a creative person working in television. The endless dismissiveness and derision would break my heart.

  • Jordan

    Very interesting read, i’m wondering if when you said “Hike the Y” you mean Y as in BYU?

  • Prashant Mehta

    Christine Kane- you are wonderful…

    Ideas are great… wish to share a quote

    “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it” – Albert Einstein
    So if I find absurd to spend time going to gallery or writing poems in-spite of not having any poetry skills – I will still create something.

    Addition to the list
    – Write stories with 150 words – no more no less
    – Design a cartoon or an object but not abstract as it looks absurd… ๐Ÿ˜‰
    – Change something in your house that is a routine for you… may be placing the tooth brush in a different place
    – Draw your face with just 5 lines (example taken from the book I read)
    – Place a small glass slate on a wall to then draw or write something for the family – and family members can take turns or have joint effort
    – Create a new recipe out of two old ones ( I know its an old idea… hey but it works for man who hardly cooks)
    – Draw a bulb and then try drawing again to improvise (now you will be tempted to see one of the picture…. dont do that… resist the temptation to copy) and draw one more bulb … observe that… it looks funny isnt it ? how surprising… if Bulb didnt work for you then try guitar….

    I recommend a book from where my inspiration came from is :
    “The whole new mind” by Daniel H Pink

    Do write me your comments and share ideas/inspirations to help me become a better creator
    pm_arrow@yahoo.com – Prashant Mehta

  • :D

    who wrote this?
    i love him/her

  • Jesica

    This is really refreshing! It reminds me of what my life used to be like. In ways I was so much happier. Not only is this a great way to tap into creativity, but a great way of life. I always forget how physically doing things goes farther than my farthest theories about doing things ever could. In becoming an adult I forgot all about life. Thanks for the reminder! lol

  • Kalvin C.

    Wow, this is just an amazing post! Thank you so much. I will most definitely give these all a try. Actually I just tried a few steps. Like I was listening to music I wouldnt normally listen to in the shower and I probably had the best shower in a long time haha. And I actually already do some of the steps you recommended. And I was just looking for more ways to be creative. So hopefully this will really come in handy for letting me become more in touch with my musical side. And Christine your a beautiful woman and I like your music. Your very talented. Keep up the good work! But once again I cant thank you enough for your advise. I feel it has helped me just alittle bit more to open my eyes to the world and appriciate the little things along the way in life…

    Take care and best wishes for your amazing journey in life.

    -Kalvin C.

  • eeleenlee

    awesome! Will share this with my writing group

  • Crystal Kimble

    Great article. I’ll post this to Twitter to share with all my “creative” friends.

  • Slow Pitch Bats

    I think 1, 2 and 3 are the best suggestions here. I have found that taking a walk and clearing my head works wonders for creativity. I definitely agree that watching TV zaps your creativity….I think it zaps your energy levels as well. When all else fails if I step away from my computer and put pen to paper I can usually get past a writing block.

  • kiki

    love the list.

  • jen

    I just wanted to tell you how much I love the way you perceive creativity. I truly agree with you that creative is a way of life and it is a process – it doesn’t always come in the form of a huge epiphany. Thanks so much for the inspiration, and for the fun!
    PS – I am going to write my cute little Cairn a song! yay!

  • Dennis

    I was searching the internet for a way to change my life as i know it today. I am not big on writing but think of myself as living on the leading edge of life. Not completely satisfied 100% I went on a hunt and discovered your website. At home and in my travels the one component of my current life that has kept thigs complicated and has kept me from going further, I now understand to be the TLEVISION. Wow! It’s the root I now belive of many roadblocks in my life, such as sex, earnings, creativity, EXCERCISE and of course spending more quality time with my son and my relationship with my life partner. I am looking forward to incredible results, thanks! Dennis

  • sharon

    Hi, what fun you are. I do alot of these things myself. Making up a song for your pet is hilarious! I did that for my son when he was small. Why do we fade from our fun? I think it is the people in our lives who are angry, when they see someone having a good time they try to put an end to it. Why don’t they just join in? My son and I were dancing in the hallway at the mall together and had big smiles on our faces. Untill… cranky mom with her kids stopped and stared at us. Jordan got embarrassed and darted into a store. I smiled at the family, turned away from them but kept on dancing to Bobby Darin Beyond the Sea. Then I felt bad for Jordan and said be glad you are you. Maybe the cranky family wished they could be like that. Always dance and sing if that makes you happy. I call it “the sudden burst” when for no reason you have an impulse to do something funny. I wish I followed the impulse more often. Certain people bring it out in you. I love when that happens! Thanks for your fun and interesting web site! I had a nice morning and you helped! Sharon

  • Nikkitta

    Will you please add: Be selective when answering your cell phone or some sort. I cut out TV in my life a few years ago. I do watch movies with my children. However, since my family and some of my friends know that I do not watch the news – They call me with those dreadful stories that I am trying to keep out of my aura/spirit. I love your website. I am glad that I found it. Keep it moving!

  • Susie Monday

    Take your idea/product/approach through these “glue” modifiers:
    Tension
    Balance
    Contrast
    Progression
    Timing
    Pacing
    Direction
    Size/Scale
    Volume/Mass
    Weight
    Emphasis/Intensity
    Repetition/Diversity

  • Claire

    Excellent post! Thank you for the boost (and for making me realize making up songs for the dog is OK).

  • Dave Zeman

    Simply wonderful…..

    Thanks
    Dave

  • Kyra

    Wow! Great site. And great ideas for creativity, especially the TV one – it’s such a brain and creativity sucker. I’ll definitely have to come back and visit – thanks for inspiring me to get back into blogging. It’s been a while but I’m feeling the inspiration now. (I found you via Diane English by the way – I’m the one working on her site). Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Christine Kane

    thanks amy’s girl! ๐Ÿ™‚ what a sweet comment to read!

  • Amy’s Girl

    Hi Christine,
    It was so nice to finally meet you at Eddie’s! I just wanted you to know I stopped watching TV a few months ago. Oh yeah, you are beautiful, wonderful and so inspiring. You make me cry, but in such a good, good, way.

  • annalaura brown

    wow, what great ideas. I will try some of these.

  • Stratoblogster

    Great suggestions! Thanks for publishing them– you’re HELPING others!!!

  • icarus

    Got rid of TV couple of years ago, it really does dumb the mind. Have done most of what you say. Great post !

  • Rise

    Christine,

    Thanks for such an extensive list to spark creativity. It is amazing to see how some of the points you mentioned overlap with or are related to the points I mentioned in my post about improving attention span.
    http://www.educatedbeing.com/2006/08/08/how-to-increase-your-attention-span/

    Since you are writing from experience, I am more convinced that these work. Couple of things that I used to do but forgot in this ‘busy’ adult life – walk in the rain, write letter, dance around the house.. etc. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Christine Kane

    hi cooking4 two, i understand completely about the forcing thing, but i’m happy to hear you’re aware of when it happens!

    lovetherain, your writing made me sigh just now. i’m in a hotel room in erie, pa in a spot that’s not at all “stimulating!” i agree that doing those things for about 45 minutes with no goals can really get the juices flowing…

  • Dan Masq

    Great list!

  • lovetherain

    I love your ideas for stimulating creativity, especially walking in the rain and writing songs for pets.

    Concentrating on stimulating one of my senses is what gets my creative juices flowing. I’ll close my eyes and listen to my favorite music; if it’s raining or windy, sit out on my deck, close my eyes and listen to nature; hand-build ceramics (love the feel of the clay); look through my large collection of beads, or go to a fabric or yarn store to feast my eyes on all the gorgeous colors. After I’ve done any of these things for 45 minutes or an hour, I feel like creating. It carries over to everything–writing, communicating with other people, everything else–not just in using the things that stimulated me.

  • cooking4two

    As an artist (tactile, not performing) I find myself trying to force creativity entirely too often. You are so correct, it can’t be forced, and it’s something I’ve been learning for a while now. This was a timely post. Serendipity is a beautiful thing. Thank you for sharing your insight ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Amelie

    Nice advices, though. To be creative means just to put creative zest into everyday things, ain’t it? As for listen-the-music-never-listened-to-before, it can make one dizzy, but some music sites are really addicting. ‘http://mp3-indian.info/ , which I found, for example, tends to make me admire some unknown styles. Thanx to Christine for such an invention!

  • christine

    Thanks Kristine! Late comments are always welcome. (Sometimes I miss them, but sometimes I don’t!) Crying is a good thing. I cry a lot for no reason. I’m not doing a sales pitch or anything here… but you might really enjoy coming to one of my retreats! The next one is in March and I’ll announce it soon.

    And you’re WELCOME for the message! Thanks for reading!

  • kristine

    i had fun reading your blog. i know my comment’s pretty late but for some reason, i was compelled to log on this evening and type vision boards. i clicked on this site and voila! i came across this particular entry and strange as it is, i cried. everything you wrote, especially about tv, is exactly what i need to do. it has been a while since i allowed my natural creative self to shine. i’ve been so busy trying to meet everyone’s expectations and doing the things they want me to do that i have sadly neglected what i am passionate about ( i was born a dancer, modesty aside ). i have tried to convince myself that i like doing things that other people expect of me so i can have an excuse for not following my heart’s desires.

    your blog is more than the breath of fresh air i desperately needed. heaven knows how famished my heart and my mind is for some inspiration. it was like a great force led me to this blog to bring a bit of peace and assurance, i guess, that i can get off my butt and be my creative self again.

    THANK YOU for your message! it is indeed encouraging and very helpful.

  • christine

    Hello Amy… Thanks for commenting, even a little late. That’s totally fine. I’ll check out Ras Alan’s tune! Thanks for the suggestion.

    Well, Housemate C, then I guess you gotta write your own very sane and logical blog about how to be creative! I look forward to it!

  • Housemate C

    I think your ideas are insane. Especially number 4. Write songs to your pets? I do agree with steps 14 (take a nap) and the part about American Idol in #21. Who really watches that rubbish?

  • Amy

    I know I am a few months late in commenting on this particular blog, but…

    I just can’t believe after reading this line near the end (There are so many better things you can do than watch American Idol‚ฤถ) that no one has mentioned Ras Alan’s anthem “So Much Betta” http://www.appalachianreggae.com/music.html, especially with you being in the NC mountains. The song came into my head immediately, I guess due to too much WNCW, which is also where I first heard you ๐Ÿ™‚

    Great ideas in the list! I have 3 cats and a dog, shouldn’t be hard to immortalize them in song.

  • Char

    Car dancing or dancing anywhere is the best! I love dancing with my kids and they think its hillarious.

    Great list!

  • Peter Kua

    What about “Whatever you think, think the opposite?” I personally find it a great way to jumpstart your creative juices. In fact I’ve written an article about it and can be found at http://radicalhop.com/blog/2006/05/15/whatever-you-think-think-the-opposite/

  • christine

    Hey Pan, Thanks for your thoughts! Probably that is the one most important step for me!

    Nathan…Well, we bloggers can only try to teach what works for us! It’d be an awfully short blog if I used your philosophy, but I certainly get what you’re saying!

  • nathan

    nice try. you can’t really be told how to be creative. i encourage everyone to be creative by not following this list. many of the ideas are nice and probably work marvelously for the author but do something new. find what works for you and for the love of jesus christ don’t do what everyone else does.

  • Pan

    You beautifully lucid creature you. Let everyone know that the television is not their friend. I work with those who decide what people watch and I know…Don’t let them decide how we should think, because that is their solitary goal.

  • christine

    thanks rudolph… yep, it’s a whole different part of your mind that loves the pen, isn’t it?

  • rudolph d. bachraty III

    ck – ahh yes, the mighty pen and paper. even with all the tech stuff i have, i still use it everyday to gather my thoughts.

    -rdb.sellsiusฌ∞

  • christine

    Leonie, Thanks for the cool suggestion from 52 Projects. (would that be 52Projects.com?) I’m happy to hear you don’t have a tv. It makes a big difference, no?

    Stephen, You’re absolutely right about the process of creating. This post was kind of a beginning place. WHat you’ve written about is what happens when you’re deep into a project, and yes, it does open you up in ways you never imagined possible. Thanks for writing…

    Jennifer, Thanks for stopping in via the carnival. Blogging is definitely an excellent way to be creative! Going to check out your blog now…

  • Jennifer, Snapshot

    Great thoughts here! Came via Carnival of FL. I have to agree about the TV. I have found that reading helps spark my creativity, but TV doesn’t really do anything for it. A good movie sometimes sparks it as well. So, blogging (writing/reading etc) has taken over other forms of media, and that’s okay.

  • Stephen Uitti

    When i was in college, i had a big project that needed a design. I needed to come up with something. I’d had a design course, and it had this way of enumerating all the possibilities, within a set of limits. I sat down and sketched them, one by one. At one point, though, there was an obvious design simplification that could be made to an iteration. Out popped a design that, instead of being inefficient, became more efficient than anything i’d seen before. It was a design that, due to the optimization, departed the limits of the method. So, I continued slogging through all the other iterations. With all the sketches in front of me, i evaluated each them on their own merits. Then, I analyzed the one really promising lead for a variety of characteristics. It was hard work. The hard work had set me up to be open to novel solutions. Creativity can certainly be like this. Really good solutions often come after several iterations to problems. Both JK Rowlings and JRR Tolkien are known to have rewritten chapters from scratch because of problems with the original work. Certainly creative.

  • leonie

    great article, thanks. we already do around half of these (including the first/last one – we don’t own a tv I am very happy to say) but my intention is to regularly do all of them. i also got a great idea from 52 projects (no affiliation) that suggested taking a train ride, getting off at the end and photographing what you see. i’ve also just recently done a color-a-day set of photos for a week, which opened my eyes a whole lot to what was going on around me.

  • christine

    Hi Kailani! Thanks for the note. Let me know how it goes!

  • Kailani

    What great ideas! I know I really should do more of these. I don’t watch a lot of tv (but I am an American Idol fan) but I know I should spend less time on the computer. I’m definitely going to do at least one of these today.

    Here via Carnival of Family Life.

  • christine

    Hi Tim, I agree with you about channels like that of course. It’s just that most people, once they get in front of the tv, tend to stay put. There are a few exceptions too… Thanks for the note!

  • Tim MMF

    Great article. Although I think there is some value in certain channels on TV. Such as Discovery and TLC. But otherwise I agree. Thanks for participating in the Carnival of Business!

  • christine

    Hey Mark, Thanks for the note. (You build instruments??) I don’t have kids, but my nieces show me how to be in the moment whenever I’m with them. Being a kid is all about the moment and the creativity… but not really knowing or caring about what “moments” or “creativity” are…

    Hi Joyce! Thanks! I hope he gets inspired. (Writing is really all just about doing it. Just writing. I might have some other posts about that i think!)

    TK Accidental, I don’t even know what StumbleUpon is… but I’ll have to go see what might be destroying your ability to get things done! Either way, thanks for stopping by and for your note. Yes, we use our TV to watch DVD’s. (Alas, someone loaned me all the seasons of West Wing last November, and I discovered why people loved it so much! I guess that’s TV in a way.) You know, I’ve never performed in Maine. It’s very weird. It may be one of the only states, along with Montana. I’ll see what I can do! (you’re a filmmaker? do you have a website?)

  • TK Accidental

    Christine,
    I found this post via StumbleUpon (which is either destroying my ability to get things done or will be my savior – but that’s another story).
    This was a wonderful entry, very selfless and exactly the kind of advice I needed exactly when I needed it. I’m going to write these on cards and place them around my apartment to remind me to do these things as I go throughout my day (The TV has to stay, but only because it’s used very often for movie watching – I’m a filmmaker, after all).
    You’ve just made yourself a new fan and friend for life. I see on your recent tour schedule that you haven’t been up to Maine. Come up and visit. There’s no better to place to watch a full moon come up than the Maine coast.
    TK

  • Joyce

    I sent this to my boyfriend. He always says I wish I could write…. maybe some of your tips will encourage him ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Mark

    Your ideas are wonderfully childlike – I watch my children and how they love to draw endlessly for the sake of it, or go out in the rain, or eat with their hands, or fiddle about on the piano. I sometimes find myself getting annoyed with them – why do you have to go through so many books? eat nicely! come in and get dry! – and realise that’s their way of engaging with the world, with feeling its physicality and rejoicing in nature. Somehow we turn those things off with our sophisticated, adult world, and somehow we insulate ourselves from the natural world with its textures and winds and beauty.

  • Erin Monahan

    Awesome post – I love #16 and #17 the most ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Happy to put this one up in the tavern!

  • christine

    Okay Starbucker… but you should know that I sang Yvonne Elliman all day long yesterday. In fact… oh no!…here it comes again! I’ll keep watching your blog.

  • Starbucker

    Good guess, but nope, I couldn’t pull that song off (although I finally got it out of my head last night). Actually, I did Elvis’ “Are You Lonesome Tonight” and came up with my own words in the spoken part that lead up to the proposal. Now THAT was my most nervous moment in front of an audience! Interesting how the smaller crowds create more nervousness – I always wondered about that. BTW, I’m going to riff on your #5 in my blog – stay tuned.

  • christine

    Thanks Susan! Aha moments are like the “overnight success” idea… there’s always lots more behind the scenes than anyone could realize at first glance.

  • Susan Reynolds

    Your “it‚ฤ๔s a process” phrase really resonates with me. Sometimes it seems as if things suddenly come to us. But really that aha moment is often long in percolation, with much of it going on behind the scenes – and sometimes below the level of our awareness. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • christine

    Hey Marty! (i missed your comment yesterday. I’m having some issues with my comments in this blog)
    I don’t think it’s obsessive at all. You know, if it involves me getting more attention…then hey, have at it! Your morning routine sounds wonderful. Thanks for writing in…

    Starbucker, my biggest audience is probably in the 10,000 range. That’s at festivals and opening for big names. Those audiences don’t make me nervous. It’s the intimate 200 – 300 thing that sometimes gets me. (And it depends on the night and how tired I am, etc etc.) Karaoke? Let me guess… you sang Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You.”

    Hi NapaJoeMac, and thanks for your kind words! I’ll bet you and your German Shephard and your chihuahua look very cute walking together. No need to apologize for the exclamation point. and you’ll have to share the song you wrote for your chihuahua next time I play at the Freight. (I’ll get back there at some point, I promise!)

  • NapaJoeMac

    Woops, one more thing. I wrote a song for my Chihuahua, and when I read that part of your list I was truly overjoyed. Thanks!!

  • NapaJoeMac

    You are AWESOME! I stumbled upon you as the opening act to John Gorka a few years back in Brekeley, California. I have since purchased all of your CDs and look forward to your coming to our area again. Your visits to the left coast are few, so imagine my surprise and joy to find this blog!! Thank you for sharing your amazing outlook on life. I am so right with you on these 21 things. I begin every morning walking my two pooches (German Shephard & Chihuahua) on “our hill” – a city park within walking distance which is sadly underused (although I do enjoy the solitude it offers.) TV is a waste, shaking the old booty is great for so many reasons. I loved the ideas of pen/pencil on paper, postcards and letters. I remember times in my past when I have done them all and felt so satisfied with the results. It is an inner-awakening – almost primal in this day and age, to do such “old fashioned” forms of communication. What a wonderful community you are building!! Bless you Christine Kane!! I apologize for overuse of the exclamation point. It is one of my weaknesses. I just don’t know how to better convey my smiling through the keyboard. Peace Love Joy!

  • Starbucker

    I get nervous too – but I like that for some strange reason (but then again, you;ve probably appeared in front of way more people than I ever have – what has been the biggest crowd for you, by the way?). OK, thanks for the treadmill and the lattes – I’ll work on Idol, I promise. It’s just that I have a soft spot for karaoke – I always loved to do it, I met my wife at a karaoke bar – heck, I even proposed to her at (that same) karaoke bar (I bet you can’t guess what song I did for the proposal)! I got kinda burned out on Idol anyway this past season. So there is hope for me yet!

  • christine

    Starbucker, No. I draw the line at American Idol. I’ll let you have your lattes and your treadmill. But no American Idol. And no, there’s nothing LIVE about it. But hey, thanks for the note! (Yes, getting up in front of people is an upper. But I still get nervous! Even after 13 years of doing it professionally!)

  • Starbucker

    Wow. You sure can write great posts – you need to write a book. Really. I like the 20 minute walk idea – trouble is, I do it on a treadmill instead of outside (it’s too humid here, I’m afraid). I love hand written notes and writing them – even though I got a “D” in penmanship in grade school (I now have to print everything). New music gets me too – great joy of discovery in that. Live music too. I also like “performing” too – getting up in front of people and talking is a real upper, and I like it better when I just “wing it” – that’s when the creativity kicks in. I actually like singing in front of people too, although not nearly as well as you. About that television though……….it’s like that one latte I convinced my doctor I could have. I do just a little, and yes (gulp) it includes American Idol. But that’s live performing, right? Thanks again for a wonderful post.

  • Marty

    christine,

    my morning routine used to go like this: wake up, look at and feel gratitude for the beauty that surrounds me and for my husband next to me in bed, snuggle a little with him if he’s awake, meditate and pray (the affirmative style of prayer), put on a small pot of sumatra/hightest, and check my email to see if there is a new christine kane blog. even though, as you know, i’m retired and no longer out there in the world of career/work and no longer trying to figure out what i want to do with my life (i pretty much am doing it!) i am inspired by, entertained by, moved by and informed by your blogs. also, i love your sense of humor and the stories you tell.

    so now, my morning routine includes all of the above and if there is no new christine kane blog, i look to see if there are any new comments from your readers! i was wondering if this is a little obsessive on my part, perhaps even slightly addictive behavior. but, alas, i know that adding these christine kane blog moments to my morning routine informs my day and my life in only positive ways. thanks for sharing your wonderful self in this uplifting way.

    and, mickey, i like the clothes you wear…and you look really good in them – you wear them well.

  • mary katherine

    Here’s a tidbit for the car performers that I thought about yesterday on my drive to work. Use the stoplights as opportunities for percussion solos on the bottom of your steering wheel. The folks behind you and in the lane next to you will have no idea what you’re up to. They’ll just notice that you look happy. ๐Ÿ™‚ Rock on!

  • christine

    Hi Susie, Thanks for all that. Yes, I think it’s a great idea to be writing in your journal before you start a blog. It’ll warm you up and give you ideas. And your ideas for creativity and kid-ness are great. Thanks!

  • Susie

    Hey Christine,
    Wow, another great post, with great timing too! I recently re-started writing in my journal, (due to your good encouragement I thought journal writing would be a beneficial practice before starting my own Blog…which I’ll let you know when I get that started ๐Ÿ˜‰ And one of my recent journal entries touched pretty much on the same subject as what you wrote today. The journal entry was all about the crazy things I did as a kid, how I interpreted the world when I was 4, what I was excited about, etc.

    That entry then morphed into the subject of, “Why don’t I spend more time to act like a kid?” I started writing about how we all had creative and elaborate imaginations as a kid and how now, no matter our age, we should still find time to “unleash the inner child.” Some suggestions I made in that journal entry that I thought I’d pass along included: Finger painting- get your hands covered with bright colors and study the movement of your own hands rather than tools to make a work of art (And yes, post it on the fridge once you’re finished!) Or study the clouds and what animals, shapes, etc. you can find as the clouds lazily float by. I remember when I was a kid I would ask 100s of questions everyday and I think we should still do this…find “odd-ball” questions such as, “how exactly does sunscreen work?” Or, “Why are fireworks different colors, etc.?” The best part about this question exercise is that you get to go out and find the answers yourself!

    Well, I hope these comments and suggestions help. Just remember to unleash the inner child. Just the other day I was painting flower pots and even pet rocks with some of our clients and I now have an adorable pet rock that sits on my desk at work. (And if anyone is wondering, the rock‚ฤ๔s name is Fraggle).

  • christine

    “The bears and the puppies” song sounds like it would go into the same tune as my friend Suzi’s song to her dog, “I caught the frisbee in the air!” I’m telling you… we should all make a CD and call it, “The World’s Most Embarrassing Music.” Thanks Kathy!

  • Kathy

    A most excellent post! Unlock that inner child!! Dance and sing and write and play! I laughed at your retreat story…..since we don’t have real pets, we have a small (and growing) collection of stuffed friends. We sing in the house all the time anyway so I suppose it’s no surprise that we make up songs about our stuffed pets …..”The bears and the puppies shall be friends, shall be friends….” But we thought we were the only ones. Knowing others do that (well to their real pets) makes it all more wonderful somehow. Silliness is creativity! It’s nice to know there’s a community out there who understands!!

  • christine

    Hi PTC (that’s easier than writing it out every time!) Just write a song. No judging. Just write something. That’s the only way to begin. Yes, I have heard Carolyn Dawn Johnson. She’s great! My site requires RealPlayer in order to listen to the songs. Otherwise, you can hear snippets on iTunes…

    Hi Leah, Thanks for your kind words! It was fun for me to do that luncheon. I’m glad you like the CD. And kudos for taking a risk and going back to school. That’s a big deal! It was great to meet you… and now I know who you are when I see the Ingles commercials next time I’m in front of a tv!

  • leah mcgrath (Ingles dietitian)

    Christine – I so enjoyed your talk and music today at the WIW luncheon. I had no idea you were so….FUN! I listened to one of the CD’s on the way home. You probably noticed me bobbing my head UP and down (like those weird little birds in the back window of cars) during your talk because so much of it reminded me of my own life and the feelings I’ve had when I’ve faced major decisions….going back to college to get another degree at 32 was a pretty big one that garnered about a week’s worth of sleepless nights – but boy was it worth it! Thanks again for your words, your music and your humor.

  • Palmtreechick

    I love your dog story/analogy.

    As for car dancing…Um yeah!! I was rocking out to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun the other morning and laughing hysterically. I always used to stop singing when I cam to a stop light, but now that I have to wear a headset (for my phone) i can sing all I want and people will think I’m chatting away. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think I’m going to try writing songs about my cats. That could be my first song writing experience, since I haven’t had luck in the past.

    Off topic, ever heard of Carolyn Dawn Johnson? She’s a great songwriter and artist.

    I tried listening to your music but it wouldn’t work for some reason. I’ll have to check them out on Itunes.

    ptc

  • christine

    Yea. I always tone it down at the stop lights…

  • mary katherine

    Oh yeah! Car dancing is fun. (I admitted my car dancing in my blog the other day or did you know that already?) Some days I am shy about it though and stop the dancing at stoplights and stop signs or I refuse to make eye contact with the people near me. Oh well…

  • christine

    Thanks, MK! I “dance” in my car too! (I’ve even had friends catch me in the act.)

  • mary katherine

    I LOVE this post!! I’ve been in the closet about dancing at home by myself for many years. When I was a kid my family thought it was cute. If they caught me in the act now they’d laugh really hard and shake their heads at me. Well, not so much my mom – I think she’s a closet at home dancer too. Thanks for giving me a place to admit this. I feel much better now. ๐Ÿ™‚