“Chance only favors the prepared mind.”
Fostering creativity in our everyday life can help us fuel creativity in our writing. “Creative ideas often come from unusual combinations,” notes Steven Smith, professor of cognitive psychology at Texas A&M University. One of the best ways to cultivate creativity is to boost our chances of coming upon an unexpected link that brings together two seemingly unrelated ideas, things, or associations. Here are a few tips for training your mind to become more creative by finding unexpected connections:
Mix it up: Shake up your time-worn routines. To broaden your creative outlook, you need to provide your mind with a rich, heady stew of new ideas, perspectives, and experiences. Vary the places you go, where you travel, the art you look at, the books you read. Not only is variety the spice of life, it also gives you exciting new stimuli and increases the chance that you’ll open up new possibilities.
Get fresh feedback: We often seek feedback and ideas from the same limited set of people, which can narrow our opportunities for real breakthroughs. So try finding people who don’t know that much about what you’re working on and ask their reactions. They may be able to point out something you’ve missed or help you see a problem or idea in an unexpected and exciting way.
Open up your mind: When our thoughts run in the same, narrow grooves, we limit the potential for creativity. Increasing openness boosts creativity. Let your mind just wander and generate as many ideas as you can, however crazy they seem. Use humor: it loosens up
Stay alert: Don’t spend all your time in your head: Observe the world and what’s going on around you. Creative people are always on the alive to new and interesting things and experiences, even if they don’t seem connected to what they’re working on.
Another tip: Keep a notebook with you so you can gather ideas, articles, images, snippets of conversation — anything that catches your attention. Let everything percolate for a while, then wander through it and see if any ideas or images seem to be clamoring to be connected. Write on!