The (famous) 29 ways to stay creative [Pt. 1]

Today I was given the always relevant advice to be critical, never accept something because “that’s just how it is” and always form your own opinions. I’m going to apply this advice to these oft-touted 29 Ways.

There are actually two slightly different versions of 29 Ways, for designers and writers. The one I’ve shared is for the aspiring writer. I believe all writers are aspiring, published or not. Like actors, we’re only as good as our last production. I must admit that not all of these Ways strike a chord in me, like. . .

Making lists. Is this really necessary to the creative process? I thought lists were the pinnacle of un-creativity; I thought they were a cop-out in the endless battle to publish or perish. Now you’re telling me they help your creativity? I’ll take that one with a grain of salt. Carrying a notebook, however, is a brilliant and timeless idea. I forget more than half the good ideas that spring into my head, simply because I’ve nowhere to write them down. I’m behind this Way 100%.

Sketch? I can try, but I’m not promising anything magical. I think exercising your creativity in multiple ways is a good idea though. That way when I get bored of words (never!), there’s still pictures. Getting away from the computer deserves an Amen. Too often, I shackle myself to a screen that does nothing but sap me of all my creative energy. As soon as I look around outside, I realize how wonderful the world is again.

I need to post this one on my wall: quit beating yourself up. There is nothing like guilt for ruining your motivation. And taking breaks? I’m against them when I’m waist-deep in working on a project but they are good for you. Our minds need rest and rejuvenation and forcing it to work for hours on end is like slamming it repeatedly against a brick wall. Eventually something’s gonna give (and it’s not likely to be the brick wall). This isn’t to say I haven’t produced some of my best work after working for nine hours straight, but that work probably could have been better.

For singing in the shower, see my thoughts on sketching and being open.

Being open has got to be the best and hardest to follow piece of advice on this list. Openness is the only way we’ll get a reciprocal flow of creativity where you put stuff out there, but stuff also gets to filter in to you and filter through you. I’m sure not everyone will agree with drinking coffee, but I embrace the caffeinated concoction wholeheartedly. Coffee is the blood that fuels a writer’s veins.

And feedback. That hard to come by, hard to swallow, never quite what you want to hear necessity of the writing process. But I prefer hearing that my story is boring and riddled with typos from a friend rather than the unforgiving internet.

Listening to new music and surrounding yourself with creative people are all about inspiration and avoiding stagnancy. If you can do these regularly, more power to you. As for me, creative people intimidate the hell out of me and give me an inferiority complex the size of Jupiter. But they are still pretty amazing to be around because you pick up all sorts of important, handy stuff.

Practice, and don’t give up. I am bad at this. I give up too easily, and practice bores me. But these are worthy challenges. As a writer, quite frankly, I’m never going to get better if I don’t write. And this includes allowing myself to make mistakes. I have to remember not to beat myself up about them. Making mistakes is the fun part of cooking, painting and many things except probably practising medicine. I really don’t want to make any mistakes there. And yet mistakes are all too inevitable.


My short attention span demands that I continue this post tomorrow! See you then for my thoughts on the next 14 Ways.

8 thoughts on “The (famous) 29 ways to stay creative [Pt. 1]

  1. You know, I think that making lists is very good for creativity; and is very connected to carrying a notebook. Lists (organisation of one’s thoughts) are not contrary to creativity, but can actually carry it further. It doesn’t have to be a literal written list (though for people who are visual like me, it certainly help), but taking the time to sit and make a list helps you to categorise, develop, and understand whatever it is; and that’s all part of the create process, I think. :)

    Your take on this list is interesting so far, though. I look forward to the rest.


  2. This is great! I especially like this: “Too often, I shackle myself to a screen that does nothing but sap me of all my creative energy. As soon as I look around outside, I realize how wonderful the world is again.”

    And this is nice: “Coffee is the blood that fuels a writer’s veins.”


  3. Quick tip: if you don’t have a note pad close-by, to jot down your ideas, you can make a draft message on your phone.You can also check to see if your phone has a notepad tool/app.


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