Have you ever thought about keeping a creativity journal?
You don’t have to be a writer, graphic designer or artist, to be creative. Creativity is in everyone, you just need to believe that you are creative and let it come out.
But even for those who know they are creative, maintaining that creativity can sometimes be a real challenge.
So, how do you keep your creativity flowing?
I think journaling is an excellent way to ensure your creativity continues to spark on all cylinders. But I’m not talking about a journal where you bare your soul and innermost thoughts and feelings, I’m talking about a creativity journal that focuses on helping you brainstorm ideas, solve problems and use your God-given talents.
I know, I know. You’re wondering how and why a journal will help bring out your creativity. Well, let’s explore.
Creative new ideas don’t always come easily and naturally. Practicing will help you find those great ideas. The more ideas you honor by writing them down, the more ideas will come.
There’s always something new to learn and each new lesson sparks ideas. All too often though, they are quickly forgotten. By writing your ideas in the journal, you are not only able to remember them, your mind will automatically go to work multiplying and refining the information.
A creative journal normally doesn’t look like your standard journal. It may tend to get disorganized and messy. You might have doodles on one page, Post-It notes on another, you might stick a feather you found in the pages to remind you of a blog post you want to write.
These journals are very personal, even though you don’t write about intimate things. Some journals become sketchbooks, others are more like notebooks, or scrapbooks. Some people use a day planner. Your creativity journal can function in any manner you need.
Many of us tend to be perfectionistic when it comes to our creativity. We let our inner critic take control and tell us that our work isn’t ready for the world to see. It can even stop us from putting ideas into our journal.
This can really hold you back, especially since journaling can help silence those critical voices. That inner critic can literally kill your creativity.
There are absolutely no rules as to what you can and should put in your journal. There’s no wrong thing to write, plan or draw. Allow it to be a safe space where your creativity can flow and you know it won’t be judged.
When you start keeping a creativity journal, you will eventually learn to stop double guessing and questioning your creativity.
Since a creativity journal has no rules, it encourages free and spontaneous writing and drawing. The things you add to your journal are never seen by others unless you want to share. You don’t have to make things perfect or even make corrections. Nothing you add will ever be wrong. Because of that, you’ll start to trust rather than question.
Okay, so maybe now you’ve decided that a creativity journal would be a great way to nurture your ideas and creative flow, but how do you start one? What kind of stuff do you write in your journal? How often should you use it?
Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty.
I love shopping for a journal. All the beautiful covers, some have ribbon bookmarks, others have great prompts on each day or a motivating quote. To get the most out of a creativity journal, get one that you will love to use.
I know, for me, how the journal looks makes a huge (and surprising) difference in whether I’m motivated to pick it up and write in it or not. So, take your time, go to a place that has a good selection and find one that speaks to you.
First, decide how you want to use your journal.
Maybe you want a place to write down your ideas, or will you use it to practice writing? You could even just use it to set goals for your creative projects.
You just need to determine what you want from your journal before you start. Knowing what you want from it will help you to continue to use it.
Free writing is a great way to use your journal. Basically, this is where you just start writing whatever comes to mind.
There’s no specified structure and you don’t need to know what you’re going to write. The things you write don’t even need to make sense.
Write a lot or write a little about any topic that comes to mind. I think you’ll be surprised and delighted with how many creative ideas come out when you just let your mind flow freely.
Maybe you’re better at getting started with a prompt. Here are a few questions that will get your mind started:
What seems like random questions might just have a huge impact, thoughts brought forth by your writing can bring out ideas you would have never expected. Write as little or as much detail as you like. This process can help free creative concepts that have been hiding for a long time.
Really, there are no rules to follow, I’ve just given you a couple of ideas to get started. Never force yourself to stick to a rigid structure or allow your creativity to be restricted in any way. Just use the journal in the way that works best for you.
Sometimes, getting started is the most difficult. I think if you just get started, it will become easier as you go.
Adding your most intimate fears, hopes, and anxieties to your journal is one method used by writers but can work for anyone trying to come up with a creative idea. This method is very similar to keeping a regular journal or diary but since you can add anything you want, writing stories that are either true or made up can really help you when a case of creativity block attacks.
Making a record of your most intimate feeling helps you remember how you felt at the time of the experience. This nurtures your creative juices and will give you a great insight as well as a lot of ideas.
For those who don’t care to spend time writing, drawing is a most effective way to journal. You don't need to be an artist, what you draw just needs to make sense to you when you come back for a creative infusion. And don’t worry about staying on topic or having a specific subject, just draw.
You also don’t have to worry about drawing something perfectly. How your drawings look really doesn’t matter, it’s the process of making the drawing and using the time to let your creativity flow out of your mind and onto the paper that is what's magic.
Forget the rules and just draw. No one will see it but you unless you choose to share.
I use a lot of writing in my journal, I also use mixed media to help me see what is hard to write about. Mixed media journaling is where you use different types of materials to journal your thought. For example, on some of the pages of your journal you might jot down ideas, on other pages you might use pictures from magazines, leaves you've picked up at a park you love, a feather or a drawing. You can use anything you feel sparks your creativity.
Music can have a profound impact on your creativity. Often you find by playing music you love while journaling, your most creative thoughts will come forth.
Music brings forth emotions. Sometimes it comes from experiences we had in the past when we heard that music, and other times it can be the words or melody making you think of something in your life.
This is when thoughts and ideas will come to you and you need to be sure to write them down.
Dream journaling is a powerful way to nurture your creativity. Dreams come in so many forms. Sometimes they are just plain bizarre, and because they are so different from your waking hours they can be used to inspire creative ideas.
So, if ever you are stuck and can’t come up with an idea, try writing an accounting of your dreams for a while, it can be an offbeat way to get your creativity flowing once again.
Brainstorming is one of my favorite ways to come up with new ideas. To brainstorm, you simply write any and all ideas that pop into your head in your journal. Don’t judge and don’t edit anything, just get it all out there. While a lot of what you come up with will be useless, it helps you refine your ideas and start thinking creatively. The fact that much of what comes out of a brainstorming session won’t be used doesn’t matter because the few ideas that do work are well worth the time and effort spent.
Another method to trigger and nurture creativity is to use a prompt journal. This is a journal that asks questions each day. You can use either a journal that already has the prompts on the pages or you can make them up yourself.
Each question is designed to make you really think before writing your response. You’ll get used to analyzing the questions and answering them in as much detail as possible. The answers themselves will help spark creativity.
I like mind-mapping. It’s been around for years but is still a fairly new journaling method. Mind-mapping works by recording your ideas in a visual way.
Basically, write the main theme of your idea and draw a circle around it. Then think of other ideas that relate to the main theme. That process sparks more ideas and you connect the new ideas to the sub-ideas. Before you know it, you have a full page of ideas or you have a problem solved.
Creativity needs to be nurtured. I find when I tend to go about my work in a rote or routine manner for too long a period of time my creativity starts to wane. Likewise, if I allow my phone or iPad to answer every question for me and I don’t have to be creative with solutions, creative ideas stop coming to me.
Check out my blog post The Boredom & Creativity Link and understand how when we use our mobile devices to keep us from getting bored or allow them to answer every question so we don't have to come up with our own ideas, we start to lose our creativity.
Journaling can really help turn this around. You have to nurture your creative mind. Whether you’re in a creative industry or not, our creativity is vital to our lives and livelihoods.
Thoughts and insights lead to creative solutions and ideas. You can go back to the pages of your journal later, days or even months, and expand on what you wrote.
Often, the days between the time you write an initial idea in your journal and when you go back, your mind will have moved the idea from a meager thought of only a few words to a full-blown intriguing solution to a problem you’ve had for months.
Nurturing your creative mind isn’t a difficult step-by-step process you have to follow, instead, it’s just an easy way to let your ideas and the chatter in your mind flow onto your pages. But the thing is, you must use your journal every single day. I’m sure there will be days when you need to force yourself to use. But, believe me, the effort will most definitely be worth it.
As you start to use your journal on a daily basis you’ll soon start noticing that you’re becoming more creative in your thinking. It’s a pretty amazing feeling and, of course, quite helpful when you need a solution to a problem.
You’ll also start noticing that more and more things in your everyday life will spark a creative thought (don’t forget to write about them in your journal). So, why not keep an eye out for those things that give you a spark. They really are everywhere.
I run an online business and am always looking for new and creative things to share with my audience. I’m also a shopper, sports fan, wife, mom, and grandma. I buy a lot of different things for my life and, as a result, I'm bombarded with advertising, emails, newsletters, magazines, social media posts, and the like to buy the latest and greatest products.
Since I am also a marketer and always looking for fresh and creative ideas for my business, I’ve started paying attention to the offers that grab my attention. Which emails am I opening? Which Facebook or YouTube videos make me click or entices me to go out and look for a product? What makes me laugh or sit up and pay attention? Those are just a few of the creative things that I watch for.
Quite often what catches my attention is something that has no direct or obvious connection to what I do in my business. Something will just catch my eye and in my mind, I figure out a way to use the concept it in my business.
Creative ideas and solutions are everywhere around you. Start to look for them and record them in your journal. Creative ideas and solutions don’t only benefit you in your business. Being creative will help you in every aspect of your life.
So, start your creativity journal today and start being creative in everything you do.
I’m a fifty-something, self-taught, online business geek from Texas and owner of Online To Thrive. A lot goes into creating an online business and it can be a really scary endeavor. I’m here to help make getting started easy and affordable with step-by-step courses that are clear, straightforward, and uncomplicated.
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