Being creative requires a daily commitment, rather than occasional actions.

by Anthony D. Fredericks Ed.D.


  • Children practice creativity every day.
  • Adults, however, seem to have lost that creative spirit.
  • Yet, when creativity becomes a daily habit, it re-energizes one’s youthful imagination.

Source: Jundecheng/Pixabay

Think back to your childhood. You made up your own songs, you built a treehouse in the backyard, you used a box of crayons to create a surrealistic kingdom, you shared stories about characters with superpowers, you created marauding bands of six-headed space aliens, and you played games like “Red Light, Green Light” and “Hide and Seek”—inevitably making up your own rules as you went along. In short, you engaged in some form of creativity on an almost daily basis.

But now, in your adult years, creativity has become a challenge. For example, when attempting to create a new marketing plan at work, writing a futuristic novel, or sketching an outline for a new garden, you may experience brief moments of panic in your attempts to create something innovative, something different. You’re frustrated and discouraged.

Now, contemplate the following: Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Creativity as a Habit

You undoubtedly know that in order to run the Boston Marathon, you have to train for several days (actually, several years) in advance of the big event in order to be competitive. World-class marathoners run, on average, between 11-17 miles per day every day. Without that regular day-to-day training, they jeopardize their chances of finishing near the top (or even finishing at all).

It seems safe to say that creativity, like running, shouldn’t be an isolated event either, but rather a normal (even daily) part of our regular activities. When done regularly, a succession of small creative activities (our “mental mileage”) helps us build the stamina and strength necessary to tackle large creative challenges. As a child, you used your creative mind almost every day; as adults, that training is virtually non-existent. Invariably, we’ve substituted logical reasoning for innovative thinking.

Here’s a consequential fact: A determination to make creativity a regular and normal part of our daily activities prepares our minds to be ready for those times when we need a really large idea in our work or everyday lives. Best of all, a tiny creative act every day puts us in the growth mindset and begins to shatter those unseen forces that have negatively influenced our thinking for so long. We move away from the fixed mindset and into new realms of creative expression. Like a vitamin, we can all profit from one a day.

For example, think about one of your regular daily habits: brushing your teeth. This is a habit initiated when you were very young and a habit you’ve practiced throughout your life. It’s ingrained in your everyday behaviors. It also satisfies how habits are defined; that is, habits are behaviors that have been repeated enough times to become totally routine.

Creativity, like brushing our teeth, can also be an automatic habit. It works best when the actions are short—say, two minutes each day—and when they are done religiously. For example, take a look at some of these simple activities, each of which could be addressed in a short amount of time on successive days:

  • Ponder the following questions: “What if a red circle appeared in the middle of everyone’s forehead whenever they told a lie?” or “What if you could re-live any year of your life?”
  • Think about this: What are the similarities between a brick and a rubber band, a stapler and a motorcycle, or a cherry pie and a lighthouse?
  • What are five alternate uses for a pair of socks or a Phillips screwdriver?
  • How could a paper clip be used to fix a broken toy or your cell phone?
  • As a writer, how would you elaborate on the following similes: “Her best friend is like an antelope on steroids” or “Teenagers are like jigsaw puzzles”?
  • How would you draw or illustrate the following ambiguous words: “fine,” “needless,” or “tense”?


Consider the following: 1) Creativity can be a habit, 2) creativity can be practiced every day, and 3) we can significantly improve our creativity when we make creativity a daily habit…like we did as kids.

The reality is that practicing little acts of creativity (daily) is the ultimate key to a creative life. Lots of small creative actions get us in the habit of making creativity an expectation rather than a rarity. It eases us into an imaginative frame of mind that becomes a natural way of thinking rather than something foreign or overwhelming. Ultimately, creativity is never a matter of “I have it” or “I don’t have it.” It is, most often, the result of a daily dedication to imaginative thinking, not just while we were kids but also well throughout our adult years.

One final quote for your consideration: Sir Ken Robinson said, “Everybody has huge creative capacities. The challenge is to develop them.”

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