A few days ago I wrote about needing to build our creative skills. I've also been all about the personal learning environments (PLE) lately, although I've tended to focus on the online tools in that process. So this morning I was thinking about the tools I've used to expand my creativity, which I would also consider to be a part of my offline PLE. A couple that have worked well for me:
Writer and artist Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way (a book I highly recommend for building creativity, by the way) has a great exercise she calls Morning Pages. It works like this. Every morning when you get up, you write--in long hand--3 pages of whatever comes to mind. The goal is to empty your head of all of your concerns, what's on your mind, etc. It's a practice that can clear the space for more creative thinking. It's really a sort of writing meditation that I've found very helpful--and far preferable to starting with my "to do" list. Check out this link for tips on how to start your own practice.
For the most part, I'm a word person. I like to read and I like to write. But I've also found that sometimes it's the visual that really gets your mind going, which is where visual journals come in. With a visual journal, you use pictures to express your thinking, rather than writing. You don't have to be an artist, either. I've actually maintained several visual journals that are strictly collage. I've used visual journals to explore more subconscious aspects of problems I'm working on and to try to express ideas I can't seem to get across as effectively in words. They've also helped me make connections that I didn't find through other means. And I've found that it's a great addition to longer-term trainings that I've done as a way for people to reflect on assignments or share information about themselves. Check out Visual Journaling and Collaging in Your Journal for more information.
A couple of quick ideas. . . What do you do to nurture your creativity?