Want to make this month your most creative? Our resident creative
expert offers up a different exercise to complete each week. At the
end of the month, see how differently you’re seeing the world around
you and your work.
Week One: Approach one project in a different way every day.
Each day since the 1960s, the Japanese-born artist On Kawara has made thousands of “Today” paintings, hand-drawing the month, date and year on canvas after canvas after canvas.
Try a variation of Kawara’s routine. Pick a creative project you’re working on—or one you want to start—and spend an hour each day this week approaching the project in a different way. If it’s a visual piece, look at totally different styles, colors and sizes each day. If it’s writing, try different words, rhythms and points of views. If it’s a recipe, substitute different spices, cooking methods or plating options. If it’s a piece of music, play around with different melodies, lyrics or instruments.
Do the same project a different way every day. See what turns up.
Week Two: Add to your notebook every day this week.
Don’t miss a day. Enter insights and observations, quotes and sketches, whatever. Being firmly committed to the notebook this week will cause your eyes and ears to pay extra attention as you walk down streets, sit in restaurants, browse shops.
And if you aren’t already keeping a notebook, use this week to start. All highly creative people I interviewed for my book “IdeaSpotting” called notetaking a must-have creativity tool.
Notetaking tip: Write a reference word in the top right corner of each filled sheet in your notebook. When tracking down info later, you can easily thumb through pages to find what you’re after.