How to Increase Creativity

You can not use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. Maya Angelou

Increasing creativity sounds like creativity is a dial and all you have to do is turn up the dial and creativity levels are increased. Well, if that image works for you it is not too far off. I have written here about how creativity is not a mystical process.

When you understand what affects creativity then you are able to control your creativity levels. Like anything to do with the human brain, there will be times when it is very difficult and times when it feels incredibly easy. I am going to go through a process that will help you understand what creativity is and how to increase your creativity levels more often. Ideally, you want to be creative when you sit down to write and create. While that might not happen every time by following this process it will help you to feel creative more often. 

How to control your creativity levels

Creativity is all about finding solutions so first, you need to create a problem.   Write out your idea in a way that it becomes a problem that needs to be solved.

If you are feeling blocked at a specific point in your writing, rephrase it as a question that needs an answer.

E.g. Main character that lives in your local area

Where exactly does your main character live? Will this have any effect on their story?


If you are feeling challenged with finding time to write, write it as a statement first and then rephrase it as a question.

E.g. You want to write more often

What do you need to change in your daily or weekly routine to create time for writing?

Any problem needs creative thinking. So just because it is not immediately recognisable as a creative activity e.g. writing or the act of creating a story or crafting a narrative does not mean that creativity is not needed.

Your Writing Routine needs Creative Thinking

Look at establishing your writing routine as needing to think creatively. If you tell yourself that you are creative you will become more creative. Repeating the positive version to yourself will help you to see yourself as more creative and also allow you to see the times when you are already being creative. This is a great article that explains the science behind what you focus on you attract.  

 Focus on the different times of your day that you are creative, even if it is just what you are going to eat for lunch, and you will see how creative you actually are. 

Focus on rewarding yourself with your writing, that it is an activity that you enjoy and deserve to do. If you only think about how much writing you are not doing. If you are telling yourself that you are not writing enough, that you could be getting more words written then those negative aspects are all you are going to think about.

Reframe it and look at it as a problem that needs to be solved. You are a creative thinker so here is a problem that needs creative thinking to solve it.

Why did you not get ‘enough’ writing done (and what is ‘enough’ anyway, that is a very vague word. Could it be that you need to make it more specific so that you can measure it better? Either in time or words or progress – scene, chapter, line)

What else happened during the day that either interrupted your writing or took your energy so that you felt too tired to write? 

I use journaling to figure this out. When I sit down at my desk and I feel too tired to write I start by writing that in the notebook I use for journaling. ‘I am exhausted. My brain is not able for this today.’ When I write about the problem I am training my brain to process the thought using words but I am also giving myself the time to understand why I am so tired and then I might be able to find a solution for the next time. I wrote more about the benefits of journaling here.

The Flow State

What we are trying to do is enter the flow state. This is when you are completely absorbed by the activity and lose track of time. Your whole being is immersed in what you are doing. This is not limited to the creative arts. Children can achieve this when they are playing, athletes can achieve it during training.   It is not limited to certain activities or certain people. This is something that all humans can experience. 

The more you can create the flow state the more you benefit. Not just for your novel or the creative project you’re working on but for your mental health.   The really interesting part of these benefits is that they happen during the process. They are not dependent on the end results. There is a sense of accomplishment from being in a flow state or in the zone. This results in higher levels of happiness as well as productivity. So, just the process of creating, regardless of how good you think it is, will give you these benefits.

A recent study showed how nature also helped to improve creative thinking. It was also the break away from phones and other events and avoiding multitasking that was part of the beneficial effects.

Writing as Self Care

One of the reasons I believe you should make time for writing is that it can be part of your self-care. Being more relaxed for the people in your life means that you can give your son the 5 seconds he needs to zip up his own raincoat instead of stepping in and getting angry that we’re late for school (as a totally random example. Ahem).

So you should not feel like you are depriving your family of anything because you want to write. I am emphasising this point because feeling guilty about taking time to write has affected my creativity and has slowed down my writing journey.  Your mindset about writing will affect your creativity and I wrote about it here.

Characteristics of the Flow State

The Flow State is easier to achieve when we set ourselves attainable goals with a degree of challenge. So, first, you need to set a clear goal. A certain number of words, a length of time etc. But it also needs to be attainable. So set it for just beyond what you achieved the last time you were writing. If you did not keep track during your last writing session then start low e.g. 50 words or 15 minutes. 

Eliminate distractions. It will be easier if you know you are not going to be interrupted by children looking for food or someone wanting to have a chat.

Then you are ready to give it a go. As your skill levels increase you will need to increase the level of challenge. So 50 words will become 100 and 15 minutes will become 30 minutes.

Enjoy the increased Confidence of Increasing your Creativity

Setting a challenge for yourself and then completing it is a great way of increasing your confidence. Especially when you are just starting to build your writing routine. Vanessa Van Edwards has a great article here on the steps needed to set and measure a goal to increase your confidence. (It’s step 4)

More reading on how to increase creativity

Learn how play can help improve your creativity

9 steps to boost your creativity and improve your novel

What everyone needs to know about creativity

How to find your writing niche

0 Comments on “How to Increase Creativity