Creating ideas

Sometimes, what’s helpful in overcoming a mental block is to ignite a spark through creativity. Whether you are trying to solve a problem, writing a thesis, creating a work of fiction, the following are some of the tips other students have found useful in their creative process:

  • Ask, ‘what if’ – Create as many scenarios and possibilities as you can.
  • Write it down – then take a step back and look at the whole picture before scrutinising portions and parts. You might find two seemingly unrelated ideas and soon the brain will look for new ways of relating that information.
  • Ask your brain to withhold premature judgment while you are generating new ideas.
  • Accept and create as many divergent views as possible.
  • Let the brain do its thing - generate new possibilities, new alternatives and new realities.
  • Don’t wait for inspiration, create it.
Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else ever thought. Albert Einstein

You’ll find that at times, the creative process can be discouraging. Creation is very rarely linear and straightforward. When you come across little road blocks along the way, try some of the strategies to strengthen constructive thinking.

  • Learn to recognise your destructive automatic thoughts. For example, ‘I’m never going to finish writing this poem. It’s too hard. I will never be a poet.’ Don’t judge these thoughts, just take note of them and know that although it’s okay, it’s not helping your creative process.
  • Learn to dispute it instead. For example, ‘I’m struggling at the moment and maybe I need some rest and relaxation. It’s hard at the moment, but I’ve written wonderful poems before.’ How would you speak to a friend who is having a hard time? Practice that same compassion towards yourself.
  • Preserve the goal but allow yourself happiness in the interim. For example, if your goal is to achieve a degree in poetry and achieving it will make you happy, instead of saying, ‘I can’t be happy until I finish my degree’, frame your thinking into, ‘I am working towards a poetry degree and I am enjoying the opportunity to learn. I take as many classes as I can and learn from the other students too.’  
Tagged in What messes with your head, writing, visual arts, Creativity, phd