Posted by: Liz Massey | January 1, 2011

11 Things to Try in 2011

Photo courtesy of SXC.

It’s the first day of a new year. For the first couple of weeks, hopes are so high among many people for new habits, projects and goals to blossom. And they can … provided the person making the resolution is committed to making it happen and has some knowledge about how to create and maintain momentum around their desire.

Here’s a quick list of ways to jump-start your creative resolutions in 2011. Some of them are ideas that I’m planning on doing myself, and some are things that have worked for others. Happy New Year!

  1. Read a book – I’ve got several books on my creativity reading list, including Think! Before It’s Too Late by Edward De Bono and Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson. While reading can become an end in itself, it’s a time-tested way to gather information and inspiration for your goals.
  2. Take a class – If you want to try a new artistic medium, like oil painting or dance, why not get some guidance from an expert? Many community centers and other local gathering spots offer low-cost, adult-schedule-centric options for beginner’s classes.
  3. Give a class – If your skill level has progressed a bit, why not give back by teaching someone (your child, a group you belong to, etc.) the basics? You can scale your teaching all the way from offering one quick tip to creating a semester-long course.
  4. Go to a conference – Later this month, nearby (to me) Scottsdale, Arizona, is hosting CoDev 2011, an annual gathering focused on business innovation. Beyond the bevy of conferences offered in most artistic disciplines, here’s a quick list of creativity-focused gatherings.
  5. Build a new habit – As I mentioned at the beginning, it can pay to use the traditional social focus on resolutions in January to start a new habit to boost your creativity. Here’s my list from last March listing the 6 I consider most important.
  6. Simplify – Sometimes, a good goal for the new year is to do less, not more. Rowdy Kittens is a good blog for learning about voluntary simplicity.  So is Zen Habits.
  7. Get active in a community – If you feel like the lone artist or innovator, 2011 might be the year to get connected with like-minded others. You can find chapters of membership organizations in your city or state to join, or you can connect online.
  8. Clear out the clutter – It’s hard to write under an avalanche of papers, or paint in a studio so messy you can’t pull out a new canvas with out knocking over your paints. I recently spent an afternoon with my partner cleaning our home office, and I feel revved up about writing and creating in there this year!
  9. Imagine a better way – Creativity is not always about art per se, or about an idea that’s woven out of nothing but inspiration. If you habitually run into situations in your life that are “broken,” why not apply your creativity to inventing a solution? Need help? Form a group – chances are, if it bugs you, there are plenty of other people seeking a solution too.
  10. Cross-pollinate – I’m a strong believer in engaging in cross-pollination to create stronger, more resonant ideas, both in art and in business contexts. This year, cultivate sources of inspiration that lie a little bit outside your normal mental realm harvest the original insights that lead to truly new ideas.
  11. Share your gifts – Set an intention this year to let the world benefit from your creativity, no matter how tentative or shy you feel about offering it. Pick audiences that are receptive, or at least neutral. You could donate your artwork to a charity auction, teach a skill to someone who could stand to feel a sense of accomplishment or self-efficacy, or make “home-made” creativity based gifts for friends and family next holiday season.

What new activity do YOU plan to try this year? Let us know in the comment section below.


  1. Liz, Great list. This year, I’d like to create a blurb book of photographs for our family and an e-workshop for my blog. Beyond that, I’d like to continue focusing on drawing and painting skills. And actually keep up with the laundry. That last one is a dream!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by VMaryAbraham and Liz Massey. Liz Massey said: Ready to take on the new year? Here are 11 things to try in 2011 to boost your creativity. […]

  3. Nice post. Think I’ll check out the books. Love the simplify suggestion. Check out “your money or your life” if you haven’t already.

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