Creativity is not a trait. It’s a habit.

Creativity is not a trait. It’s a habit.

The writer Somerset Maugham was once asked if he wrote according to a schedule or only when he was inspired. 

“I write only when inspiration strikes,” he replied. “Fortunately, it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”

If you were to study the habits of the most creative people throughout history you would find that they all kept to a routine. 

Balzac drank fifty cups of coffee a day. Goethe sniffed rotten apples. And Charles Dickens would walk up to 12 miles a day. 

Regardless of their weird habits, they all look their work seriously and would do it whether they felt inspired at the time or not.

Many a famous writer has described the agony of facing a blank page. It’s only by getting past the initial frustrations that ideas begin to flow. 

You simply have to do the work. You can’t leave it to spontaneity.

It’s too risky and your creative output will be modest at best.

To become more creative you need to practice until it becomes a habit. Creativity really is like a muscle in the sense that it grows the more you use it. 

Below are some helpful suggestions to set you on your way: 

5 top tips for making habits stick

1. Start off small. E.g. don’t try and marathon straight away, instead run 5km

2. Allot a period of time to be creative every day. 

3. Create cues to encourage the desirable behaviour. E.g. putting your gym clothes next to your bed. 

4. Set some performance goals. 

5. Reward yourself for achieving those goals. 

5 recommended reads on habits

1. The war of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield 

2. Daily Rituals: How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get to Work Paperback by Mason Currey 

3. The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp 

4. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change by Charles Duhigg

5. Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear 

Any other unusual creative habits you’ve come across? Please share your findings in the comments below. 

Creativity is a vital skill for any company. The ability to solve problems and spot new opportunities is what separates those that survive and prosper from those that fail.

If you’re interested in how creativity can transform your business then pre-register for our upcoming course ‘Creativity for Business’ for more info.

Break old patterns

Break old patterns

How can a company remain creative as it grows?

How can a company remain creative as it grows?