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The great painter Matisse once said, “Creativity takes courage” and he was not kidding. Allowing yourself to follow your creative path is a scary journey that you have to face alone. You will find travelers on the road, but at some point, their paths will split, and you will be alone once again. It takes courage. I’m starting a series about the things that shape our creativity. This won’t be a comprehensive list, as I’m not sure there could ever be a way to capture all the ways we can shape our creativity. Instead, the list will include positive and negative ways we shape our creativity.

This is not based on any scientific research but on my personal experiences of what actually works for me. Everyone gets in a funk they can’t get out of or thinks they are not creative people. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had someone tell me they are not creative people. It’s one of my pet peeves – creativity comes in many different forms – it’s not just taking photos, painting, writing songs. Creativity can be found in the way you organize your home, the way you raise your kids, the way you do your accounting project – creativity is built into every human’s DNA. The great thing is there are many ways to build your creativity muscle, and the best part most of these are free or very low-cost ways to boost your creativity. So let’s get started.

Part One : What you watch, read, and listen to

Music

You know that song that makes you dance when no one is around or the strings that stirs up emotions every time you hear it? Those songs are a great place to start exploring new music. Music is one way to get those brain cells bouncing around and thinking differently. Try listening to something you’ve never listened to before. If you’ve never taken the time to listen to classical lo-fi hip hop, then there is no better time. I’ve linked a few of my personal favorite playlists for when I’m creating.

Apple Music Playlists

  • Electronic Focus – Just like what it sounds like. I listen to this when I need to get in a rhythm and get a lot of things done.
  • Focus – This is a slower paced more focus playlist for activities such as writing or editing photos.
  • Bluegrass – If you have never enjoyed some bluegrass then give this playlist a shuffle.
  • Classicaltronics – the best mash up of classical and electronic music.

Books

Books that spark your inner creativity are also good. I keep a few books on my shelf that I know inspire me. I have passages highlighted that I keep going back to when I need that creative boost. Try going to a bookstore and go to a section you don’t usually go in, find a book cover that speaks to you and buy it. I’ve done this before and have always been pleasantly surprised. Go to a used bookstore and look for a book that has a lot of writing in it. Go on a journey with a stranger and read the book and their notes. See what they thought of the book and see if it sparks different thinking.

Watch

Netflix and YouTube are excellent sources of inspirational videos. The only thing I urge you to be careful about YouTube is not to watch gear videos – they just enforce the desire that you need something more or new to create, which is not the case. Below are a few of my favorite inspirational videos.

Stay tuned for part two

Reba Baskett

Reba Baskett

Nashville-based creative that is focused on living a minimal lifestyle.

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