Smith: Sharpen your creative wit
September 16, 2013
Do you wish you were more creative? Well, believe it or not, creativity isn't something you have to be born with. You can actually learn it! Or even better, you can fake it. In fact, faking it is probably a much better way to go. Think of all the time that's gonna save.
Well, maybe. Faking something can be almost as taxing and time-consuming as actually knowing what you're doing. And when it comes to something as nebulous and subjective as creativity, who can tell the difference? So …
How to be and/or fake being more creative
Writing "I am creative" over and over again is a good start, but if you are truly wanting more creativity all up in you, then you should take it a step further. Try writing it over and over again on the side of your neighbor's house in green spray paint. Or spelling it out with kerosene on a lawn (not yours) and setting it on fire. Or spelling it out (with popsicle sticks) in a mountain meadow in letters so big that you need a hot-air balloon to decipher it.
If you're like most people, you stir your coffee or tea counterclockwise. Well, tomorrow morning, stir it clockwise. Using an actual clock. Because you're practically Da Vinci, and you're not afraid to let the world know.
Creativity is as much attitude as it is activity. The truly creative people among us realize that the less they do, the more creative they seem. This is why berets came into being. Get one. Wear it. Done.
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Get a notebook in which to capture all of your creative ideas. On the first page, write: "My Creative Ideas". Then lose the notebook, because truly creative people live a life such that they don't have to keep up with stupid notebooks.
The Popsicle stick is possibly the most creative invention there is. With enough Popsicle sticks and white glue, you can create literally anything. Yes, literally. For example, you can create a pot holder, a dream catcher, a life-size replica of the Eiffel Tower and/or a working Space Shuttle. Get yourself some Popsicles, eat them, don't absentmindedly throw away the sticks and you can bet you're on your way to a more delicious, creative you.
Start hanging out where other creative people hang out: coffee shops, museums, patent offices. Closely watch what the people there do, and then do the exact same thing.
Fingerpaints, dude, fingerpaints. But don't use your fingers. Because you don't play by the rules.
Expand your vocabulary to include words that you're certain the person you're talking to doesn't know. Making up words is easier than memorizing ones that already exist.
It helps to make it clear how stupid the person is. Use examples when possible. Do not be afraid to dredge up really embarrassing episodes that a kind person would not bother to mention. Also, pointing is good.
Sorry. That last entry is part of a different column, "How to Be More Berative."
Berative. I made that word up.
Buy an iPhone that's not black or white.
Take a "How to Be More Creative" class. Or read a "How to be More Creative" book. Then you're authorized to write a column about it.
Two words: different-colored socks!
Two words: Announce that you are about to offer a specific number of words, but instead use a different quantity. The difference between the projected word count and the actual word count is a good measure of just how creative you actually are. But this formula also involves a point of diminishing returns. You'll need to pay close attention to make sure that you don't overstep the initial impact of the "Hey, he said 'two words' but then went on to say more than two words! That's creative!" and begin to stray beyond the realm of the creative and into the zone of pompous.
Build a gigantic Popsicle stick using normal-sized Popsicle sticks. Put some glitter on it.
Barry Smith's column appears Mondays.
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