Creativity is a muscle and needs to be exercised in order to grow stronger. Sometimes this means stretching your brain in different ways in order to come up with different, and more creative, solutions. Here are three of my favorite resources on creative thinking:
Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques
One of the reviewers on Amazon describes this as "the closest thing to a cookbook for creative thinking" and I agree. It is full of exercises, brainteasers and tools that help challenge and shape the way you see and think about things. The exercises can be done at any time, and it's not a book that you read all in one sitting.
The Artist's Way
Julia Cameron is best known for Morning Pages, a practice that requires you journal all of your rambling thoughts for three pages each morning when you first wake up. This is something I've been doing since before I came across her work and the actual name for it, and I can attest the method works. It frees your mind to work on what is important. The book has other valuable insights and exercises as well, and is worth reading.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Anne Lamott, one of my favorite authors, shares effective ideas on how to get creative things done. Don't be fooled by the title, this book is not just for writers; Lamott's advice applies to any business owner.
All of these resources require dedication and work, which is why many shy away from them. Creativity is a discipline, and the people who are most successful creatively are the ones who put the time and energy into it. What are some of your favorite resources for creative thinking?
Originally published November 2010