Creative Insights: Quinn McDonald

Six Steps to Being Creative Every Day

“ But I’m just not creative,” my coaching clients say. I’m not sure if they are serious or simply want me to prove they are wrong (a coach doesn’t do that), but everyone is creative in some way. Creativity, like any other ability, needs practice. The first time you tried to walk, you fell on your butt. At that point in your life, it didn’t matter, you got up again and again. As an adult, you mistook falling for failing and quit, certain it was the end of creativity.

You can live a creative life. You can be creative every single day. Here are some simple exercises to get you started:

  1. Start your day by getting your blood moving. Exercise enough to breathe hard. Keep focused on the exercise. Then get in the shower and let your mind drift. Creativity lives in the shower.
  2. Can’t stand exercising first thing in the morning? Start your day with a 15-minute meditation. Let your mind drift, but don’t obsess over your thoughts. Pay attention to your breathing. Set a gentle alarm to let you know when time is up. Write down any ideas you have when you are done.
  3. If you wake up and remember a dream, write it down. You don’ t have to understand it or analyze it, just write down as much as you remember. The longer you wait to write it down, the less you remember.
  4. Keep index cards and a small pen or pencil in your purse or pocket, on your desk, at your bedside, in the bathroom. Write down your ideas, brilliant or not. The smallest pencil beats the longest memory. You’ll be surprised what you come up with.
  5. Every now and then, when you need to solve a problem or come up with an idea, go through the box of index cards. You aren’t looking for the right solution; you are firing up your brain. Flip through the cards, letting your mind wander. Then do something else for an hour. Ideas come up when the problem is not on the front burner.
  6. If you don’t keep a journal, start one. Most people who keep journals write in longhand because it slows down your thoughts and makes you more deliberate. But there is no reason not to keep a journal on a computer. A blog is not a journal. A journal contains your private thoughts. A blog is for the public.

Quinn McDonald is an artist and certified creativity coach who helps artists through transitions in their lives and work. You can e-mail your business-of-art questions to Quinn’s book, Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art will be published by North Light in July, 2011.


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One Response to Creative Insights: Quinn McDonald

  1. rasz says:

    Great exercises! Thank you.