Creativity is not something you can buy or magically conjure up on a moment鈥檚 notice. It鈥檚 a fickle gift that has a tendency to appear whenever and wherever it wants. A brilliant idea might float into your head while you soak in the bath, or that awesome banana-themed DIY scheme might hit you while you鈥檙e in line at Whole Foods. You never know when idea gold will strike, but there are ways you can attempt to lure creativity into appearing.

A while back, Entrepreneur Magazine ran a piece by Travis Bradberry entitled 鈥Six Unusual Habits of Exceptionally Creative People.鈥 I yearn to be creative and exceptional. I鈥檓 always looking for ways to make my brain better, especially since my career as a wordsmith depends on my noggin. These six habits that Bradberry collected don鈥檛 only apply to writing; they could be helpful for illustrators, photographers or those working on a series of neon pink macram茅 wall hangings. I decided to give these six habits a try.

1. Wake up early.

Sunny in bed

This one was easy peasy for me. My dear darling daughter has her own habit of waking up at around 5:30 or 6am each and EVERY morning (and yes, that means Sundays too). She鈥檚 no shrinking violet, so when she gets up, we all get up. I start my day after a cup or two of coffee, usually around 6:30am or so. I鈥檝e found I do my best thinking bright and early. I鈥檓 more productive and have fewer distractions when I start banging things out while the sun rises. The bad thing is that by the time the clock strikes 10pm, I鈥檓 ready for bed.

Verdict: It鈥檚 a great tip for those who don鈥檛 mind getting up early. This one wouldn鈥檛 be suitable for those night owls out there.

2. Get exercise.

We all know that our synapses snap far faster and our brains function way better when we move our bodies. The hard part, especially for me, is to actually follow through on my fitness fantasies. But apparently, it鈥檚 SO WORTH IT. In a Stanford study, 90 percent of people were said to be more creative after they exercised. 90 percent! That鈥檚 huge. The cool thing is, it鈥檚 not just beneficial for your brain, but also your body, your stress level, your immune system and so much more. In an attempt to exercise those good ideas out of my brain and onto the page, I took not one, but two power walks around by hood. It totally worked! I knew it would. But being reminded that this is something I need to do is always a good thing.

Verdict: YES! There are so many benefits to working out beyond helping your creativity.

3. Stick to a strict schedule.

Schedule for creativity.

There was a time when I was far less scheduled. I would skip through my day with much more freedom. But that whole adulting thing put a kibosh on my once free-wheeling ways. Now I find that, not only do I need a schedule, but I thrive with one. Psychologist William James spoke of the importance of schedules and creativity, saying that only by having a schedule can we 鈥渇ree our minds to advance to really interesting fields of action.鈥 Each day, I make a list of tasks that need to be done with start times (which I don鈥檛 always adhere to). It鈥檚 helpful to keep on track and to continue being productive.

Verdict: Really, it depends on what you do. Some people need far more scheduling than others. You鈥檒l need to try it out to see if it works for you.

4. That day job? Keep it.

If you鈥檙e still in the process of 鈥渕aking it,鈥 then you probably wanna hang on to that day job. The big reason is that you can do crazy things like pay the rent, buy food and maybe, just maybe, splurge on the occasional high-end kicks. But there鈥檚 another reason to keep working for 鈥渢he man/woman,鈥 and it totes makes sense. 鈥淐reativity becomes more difficult when your livelihood depends upon what you create.鈥

My creative outlet is writing: It鈥檚 what I do, both for business and for pleasure. But my personal blog 鈥 where I can go on and go on about Disneyland 鈥 isn鈥檛 (yet) bringing in the big bucks. It鈥檚 for fun, and my mind will wander to super creative places that my 鈥渨ork鈥 writing doesn鈥檛 take me to. My day job and my passion project both inspire each other on a daily basis, and they happily coexist.

Verdict: Solid advice. For most of us, quitting the day job isn鈥檛 even an option. But it鈥檚 nice to know there鈥檚 a creative benefit hidden there.

5. Be able to work anywhere, at any time.


Everyone starts somewhere, and it鈥檚 usually not in a gilded room, a corner office with a stunning view or your own executive suite. 鈥淪teve Jobs started Apple in his mom鈥檚 garage and JK Rowling wrote the first ideas for Harry Potter on a napkin on a train,鈥 Bradberry reminds us. Changing your work environment can make you more productive and could ignite your creative flame.

Part of the issue of being able to work anytime or anywhere has to do with what kind of work you do. If you鈥檙e a large-format painter, you鈥檒l need some sort of studio space. If you sew, then you鈥檒l need a place to plug in your sewing machine. I鈥檓 lucky 鈥 being a writer I can work anywhere. While I generally work from home, either at my desk or while curled on my comfy couch, I mixed things up and tried a couple of different workspaces. The caf茅 I went to was too noisy. There was too much glare on my laptop screen when I tried to write in the park. And although I鈥檓 tempted by one of the super swank co-working spaces that seem to be popping up all over the place, I couldn鈥檛 commit to a location.

Verdict: I have my personal preference, which is home. But I can totally see how others would thrive with a more eclectic array of work environments.

6. Those creative blocks 鈥 that鈥檚 procrastination.

鈥淭he greatest enemy of creativity is inactivity,鈥 Bradberry points out. It鈥檚 simple: If you鈥檙e doing nothing, then, well, you鈥檙e creating nothing. On occasion, I鈥檒l get stuck under a great big heavy chunk of writer鈥檚 block, but I have deadlines and responsibilities, and I don鈥檛 have the luxury of letting writer鈥檚 block hold me down for long. The only way to stay to creative is to just keep on doing. It might not be your best work, but at least you鈥檙e getting something done.

Verdict: Use your time wisely and don鈥檛 let those creative blocks hold you down 鈥 like ever.

What鈥檚 your best tip for getting your creative juices flowing? Tweet us by mentioning @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)