Whether you work in a creative field or not, we all have a human need to be creative on a regular basis, for our hearts and our souls. When we find ways to express our creativity, we are lighter, things don’t bother us as much, we are easier to be around, we are more fulfilled, and yes, even happier.
But it can be easy to get stuck in the motions of your life and avoid doing anything creative for long stretches of time. If that sounds like you, don’t despair. Don’t panic. It might take a little effort to get your creativity flowing again, but it’s well worth it for you and everyone around you.
If you’re looking for something to ignite your creative pilot light, one of the best things you can do is taking an improv class or workshop. Improv is an excellent way of opening up your synapses and letting your brain think in new ways.
Here are three ways that improv can help make you more creative:
- It Helps You Learn How To Make Something From Nothing
The single hardest part of any creative project is getting started. Before we even try something new, we usually come up with 31 different flavors of fear that prevent us from beginning. The thoughts may range from, “I am too old,” or “I will fail and people will hate me” or “If it can’t be perfect, I don’t want to do it.” It doesn’t matter what flavors you choose — you end up with the same results, which is no results.So, how does improv help? Well, thanks for asking. Improv trains you to make something up from nothing. With no plan. With no expectations. It helps you embrace the unknown. In improv, sometimes what we create is brilliant and sometimes it’s just plain shit, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that just by trying improv, we get more confidence to try something new. When we sit down to write something, we worry less about what will come out on the page. When we go to paint something, we care less what comes out on the canvas. When we go to sing, the words will flow out of our mouth. Improv helps us to start trusting ourselves and stop judging ourselves so we can get past the starting line. Now on to judging ourselves less…
- It Helps You Stop Judging Your Own Thoughts
Have you ever had a great, really creative idea about something that would make the world a better place, but you never told anyone about it? If so, you’re not alone. People are often afraid to share their ideas because they fear that others will judge their them. So they don’t share. The keep their mouths shut. And that stifles an awful lot of creativity. Our ideas are trapped inside our big, thick heads and have nowhere to go. We say to ourselves: “I am not going to say anything because I don’t want to be judged.”Well, the beautiful thing about improv is we are surrounded by people who are trained to listen and build off of our ideas. That is not only refreshing, but it also helps us to start trusting our instincts. Our inner critic gets quieter, which means we are no longer judging our own thoughts but instead are saying them out loud where people gladly build off of them. This builds our confidence and creative ideas just begin to come out of us like a fire hydrant that cannot be shut off.
- It Helps Us Take in Others’ Ideas
To me, one of the biggest lessons that improv teaches us is that it’s important to take in other people’s ideas. The ego loves to lie to us and tell us, “If we were really creative, we wouldn’t need other people’s help.” We think the goal of creativity is to come up with something new all by ourselves. In fact, many people feel threatened and insecure when other people suggest ideas to make their project better. They refuse to listen. But improv gives you a secret weapon, and that is people. Of course, you don’t want to surround yourself by just anybody. You want to surround yourself with people you respect so you’ll be willing to take their ideas. You don’t have to take all of their ideas, and some may act as prompts get you to go deeper into your work. My muse often speaks through other people, and the more I am open to this, the better results I get.Improv rewires your brain to constantly take in other people’s ideas and truly collaborate. I can speak from experience and say when you are able to take in other people’s ideas, you will get the kind of results that are beyond your wildest dreams.