Recently, I read a wonderful article by Madeline Wolfson about award-winning playwright, actor, and sometimes improviser Tracy Letts. In it, he gave 10 pieces advice on how to live a more creative life. I liked it so much, I have included the link.
Now, I’m no Tracy Letts, but I like to think I’m a pretty creative guy. So after reading his list, I was inspired to come up with my own list of five things that make me more creative.
- Talk to yourself
There are two things that I really enjoy while driving a car: one is picking my nose, and the other is talking to myself. Picking my nose has nothing to with my creativity, but talking to myself does. In fact, I talk to myself on a daily basis. I cannot think of a better place to work on characters, or an acceptance speech for winning an Emmy or being interviewed by Howard Stern than when I’m alone in the car.
- Go on a walk
My brain seems to just flow when I am out there walking in the fresh air. It is even better when I can find the time to walk in nature. I have also found that taking a walk is another great place to talk to myself (see the pattern?). Although being outside helps me the most, I’ve found doing anything physical – dancing, working out at the gym, etc. — can get my brain going.Sometimes in class when I see a student stuck on stage and they can’t get the words out during an improv scene, I will ask them to move their body, and when they do the dialogue comes out like water out of a fire hose.
- Take a shower or a bath
I can’t explain this one, but it’s been amazing how many great ideas have come to me by taking a hot shower or sitting in the warm water of the bath tub. They just do. I don’t need to over explain this one, it’s pretty simple.
Each morning, I meditate for 15 to 20 minutes, and I can’t tell you how important this is to my creative process. It not only clears my mind before I start the day, but it also reminds me to listen. Creativity is as much about expressing your own ideas as it is about listening to your muse, or other people, or the silence, and meditating makes me more open to doing all three.
- Bounce ideas off other people
Creativity does not happen in a vacuum. I need other people for inspiration. So whether I’m reaching out to another person whom I respect for feedback, or I’m asking my wife, Lauren, to be an audience to see where the jokes land, I walk away with ideas to make my work better and to improve my confidence. Find safe, supportive people whom you respect to bounce ideas off of.
Do you have any other ideas for ways you can boost your creativity? Share them in the comments below.