Was there ever a time in your life that you thought of yourself a creative person? And do you sometimes find that the world around buzzes too intensely with information, making it increasingly harder to get a creative thought in edge-wise? According to Julia Cameron, renowned author of the seminal book, The Artist’s Way, “The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.”
Luckily, there are ways to improve your creativity that can be practiced everyday and little things we can do to bring out this quality that we all have deep inside. More often than not, it just takes a little time—of which you probably have plenty during your daily commute. The following creativity exercises, some of which are focused meditations, offer ways to work on clearing the creativity channels in your mind that can be practiced during this “dead time,” so that “not having time” can never be your excuse again!
1. Go Jedi
A great way to increase creativity is to use your time on the train or in the car to consciously push out negative thoughts. Each time you feel anxious or negative thoughts start to creep in during this time (which naturally happens to many of us), make up your mind to stop them in their tracks. A calm mind is usually a more creative mind.
2. Get Lyrical
We dare you to use your time on a commute to write a song to something basic and close to your heart—for instance, your dog. By developing lyrics and a tune around the topic of your beloved pet, you get those wheels turning and can later switch to another topic.
3. Go Postal
Ahh, the lost art of writing postcards. We miss it, too! Postcard text is short, so it’s a low stress way to put thoughts on paper. Postcards also make us think of travel and exotic locations, which can get creative juices flowing. As a bonus, you’ll make a pen pal very happy.
4. Open Your Ears
Another of our favorite creativity exercises is to listen to new music and experiment with your knowledge of what is out there and pleasing to you, while stimulating your brain with new arrangements and lyrics.
6. Letter Rip
After postcards, try writing some letters and give yourself more room to create. You can be practical and choose to write your senator or the school principal.Scratching these off your to-do list opens you up room for more creative endeavors.
7. Peep the Deets
Pay attention to details and take joy in the small things occurring around you during your commute. Maybe it’s the silky blonde ponytail on a cute little girl, or the smell of the fried chicken the guy next to you is munching. Take it all in, knowing that the senses are full of magic when it comes to exploring your creativity.
8. Embrace Presence
Use your time in transit to be present in the moment, not thinking of the past or the future. Try doing this for a minute at a time until you can get up to 10 minutes. The more you can learn to quiet your mind during a commute, the freer said mind will be to engage in any creative endeavor once you get home.
9. Be a Book Worm
Reading a book is a simple and wonderful way to enjoy someone else’s creativity and become inspired.
Another great way to increase creativity is by engaging with people who are different than you. It’s also a wonderful way to expose yourself to other ways of thinking and seeing the world.
11. Tweak Your POV
Read a different newspaper and take notice of the difference in perspective from your regular one.
Change your route to work. Try a different path or another train and see if the paths of the brain follow you.
13. Freestyle Dream
Instead of making lists in your mind, planning dinner or wondering if that important check has cleared, make it a point to look out the window, watch the world go by, and daydream. See this time as your time and use it to nurture creative qualities that usually don’t get a lot of airtime in your life.