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Michael Long is a speechwriter, author, educator, and award-winning screenwriter and playwright.

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Creativity Is a Skill, and You Can Build It

In which three simple tricks are revealed to build your abilities.

 
Creativity is hard to define, but here's a practical version: creativity is the making of unexpected connections.

You can always describe a meal in terms of flavor and texture, but if you say the lemon was so tart that it stung your cheeks like a mouthful of bees, you've made a stronger impression.

Creativity doesn't always come easily, so here are here are three tricks to make creativity easier.

 

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by the end of one day.
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#1: Write things down. Ideas rarely show up on demand. They arrive during the drive to work, while you’re idling in the pickup lane in front of the school, or as you’re waiting in some decrepit vestibule for your parole officer. So write down ideas as they come to you. Use an app for reminders or lists, or keep a pocket-sized notebook and pen with you. (I text them to myself on my phone.)

Don’t trust yourself to remember. It’s rare that you will.

Once you get home, add them to a master file. That way, when you’re writing, you will have a long and ever-growing list from which to choose.
 
#2: Fill you head with things that interest you. The writing you enjoy often takes on topics you know little about, or makes connections among ideas you had not put together before. Learn topics that no one else in your field is thinking about so you might make connections that no one else in your field is putting together.

If all you’re writing is what you already know, you’re probably not adding much value. Writers learn and explain, so learn new things all the time.

#3: Change the background. Try this: close your eyes and name three objects, the first three that come to mind. Chances are all three are in front of you right now. We’re not naturally creative. We grab what's around. So if you’re looking for new ideas, don’t expect to find them at the desk you’ve been sitting at every day for years. Get up. Walk around. Change what you’re feeding your senses. 

 

To be interesting to others, be interesting to yourself.



Three ways to be creative: Stay on the lookout for good ideas by finding things that interest you. When you find new connections, save them. And keep refreshing your environment.

Being creative is a skill, and you can cultivate it.


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Burke, VA  22015
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