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KOREA creativity

10 Tips for Boosting Your Creativity

Countless books and publications have been written on how to boost creativity and the power of mindfulness and solitude in the creative process. This past winter I had the chance to experience all these benefits while on vacation in the Swedish countryside. While there I spent three weeks in a cabin in the woods, with no Internet or neighbors and only six hours of daylight to enjoy the beautiful views and landscape.

I must admit, I was a bit anxious about all that time with ‘nothing’ to do ahead of me so, I equipped myself with a camera, a few books (among them the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu), some sketchbooks and art materials. The result was that I came back home to Korea with tons of energy and sketches for a new series for 2015. The theme? Balance.

I would like to share some tips that helped me. I hope some can be helpful to you whether you are an entrepreneur or an artist doing photography, writing, painting, music or whatever.

1. Isolate yourself away from social media and the crowds. Learn to enjoy your own company, the power of mindfulness and meditation. I literally mean power, because after long learning and practice of this ancient philosophy born in the East, you will be amazed by the amount of fresh ideas that will emerge even with a few minutes of meditation a day.

2. If you travel, choose a destination without access to the internet or force yourself to be disconnected, it will help you stay in the now, which is what mindfulness is all about and, consequently, you will think clearer.

3. Go on a retreat at least once a year. In Korea you can easily go on a temple stay for a night or more. It’s worth the experience.

4. Get good sleep. Also learn the value of a good nap and no, you’re not wasting your time.

5. Stay away from the TV for a while and read interesting books or publications  instead. Start reading all those books you haven’t yet because of …Facebook? If you need a break, meet someone you find stimulating and creative for coffee or lunch.

6. Meet with or observe people who are VERY different from you, in their culture, their beliefs, etc. The challenge or observation helps you see things from other perspectives outside your normal comfort zone. That too can inspire new ideas.

7. Go to a concert or any other form of art display that you don’t practice or have mastered yourself. Sometimes we find influences or inspiration in other forms of art such as acting, a stage production, or music.

8. Keep a diary or sketchbook for notes, ideas and clips at all times! All ideas have great potential. Sleep with it if you can, that way you can write ideas that keep coming back either before or after sleeping.

9. Be sure to inform your friends and loved ones if you purposely intend to isolate yourself so you don’t end up hurting any feelings. Also it will allow them time to find resources and plan activities with your children, if you have them.

10. Do nothing! It’s okay to be bored. We can observe in children how they come up with incredible games when electronics or the internet are taken away from them and they’re forced to be creative with their time. I have to agree with the artist Francesco Clemente  when he said: Boredom is the origin of any great idea.

Gaby Berglund Cardenas is a Visual Artist living in Busan since 2009, where she earned an M.F.A. in Oil Painting from Kyungsung University. She’s also a printmaker and has been actively exhibiting in and out of Korea, focusing on art as activism to affect social change. The Soohohrom in Marine City is currently hosting her exhibition‘Mother’s Room’.

Read more about her on Artslant ( or follow her on Facebook




About Gaby Berglund Cardenas

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