Creativity. So many of us think of it as something we have or don’t have. And, yet, that’s far from the truth. Each one of us has a creative instinct, and we use our creativity on a daily basis—from organizing a project to getting dressed in the morning. While each of us is inherently creative, it may not feel all that easy when we absolutely need to invoke our muse. But here’s the good news: no matter how much of a stretch being creative feels, it is always possible to build your creative capacity. Try these seven tips to give your creativity a boost.

Have you ever noticed that your most brilliant ideas come to you in the shower? You aren’t just imagining that. The act of showering is just active enough to turn off your hyper-vigilant inner censor without being so mind-exhausting that it numbs your inner creative. So when you are doing something that loosely occupies your mind such as driving, walking, showering, cooking a familiar meal, doing the dishes, your inner creative will often blurt its idea out to you because it knows that you will be more receptive. Give yourself time every day to work your conscious mind just a little bit so your subconscious, dreamy side can make itself heard.

I learned this concept years ago from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, and I still love the idea. Give yourself a block of time (an hour is enough) each week to take yourself out on a date to scout for inspiration. From browsing a book or antique store to checking out children’s artwork at the local library, inspiration is everywhere.

The Artist Date is all about inspiration. Sometimes the best way to instigate your own creativity is to be inspired by someone else’s. Check out some visual art or a poem that strikes a chord, and create your own art from it. If you are using a painting, create your own piece inspired by a certain technique, idea, or image. If a poem is on your mind, take one line from it and write your own poem based on that.

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It is so easy to give in when we feel blocked and, yet, if we could just persevere past the block, we often produce the sweetest stuff. If you are a painter, set an aggressive quota like producing fifty 5 x 7-inch paintings by a certain date. If you are a writer, your quota might be 2000 words or 15 poems a day. Even if your inner censor is telling you that the work you are producing is awful, keep going. Proving that you have quantity in you really does boost your quality over time.

Start gathering inspiration from magazines, catalogs or anywhere else and display it all on an inspiration board. You can use a cork board, foam board or a poster board to capture anything that inspires or strikes you.  When you are hungering for an idea, go to your inspiration board, take it all in, and see where it leads you.

Sign up for a class that will challenge you to think differently.  From oil painting to Italian cooking, there are so many educational experiences that can give your creativity a spark.

There is nothing worse than having an idea and no means to capture it. Carry a small notebook in your purse to record ideas and quotes that strike you or capture turns of phrases or fragments of ideas with your smartphone voice recorder so that you never lose a good idea—not even while you are driving!

How do you boost your creativity? What strategies do you resort to when you need to invoke the muse?