Six Ways to Be Creative

For the most part, people tend to associate creativity with the arts, but it applies to everything from complex fields like mathematics and engineering, to daily tasks like filing and scheduling.

And people also think you can learn how to be creative by reading articles, which is a topic of debate: Is creativity inherent and naturally accessible, or can it be lying dormant awaiting discovery, or even taught?

So, with that in mind, I’ve listed six ways to be creative. My methods might come across as being slightly unorthodox, but I’m sure they’re widely practiced by some of the best and brightest people around.

Here they are:

1. Look up the word “creative”.

Number one is pretty self-explanatory.

2. Fly a kite dangerously close to a nun

An uneventful life can make for uninspiring creative. Living dangerously has for centuries been used as a way to release creative energy. One thing I’ve found quite helpful when I need to come up with new ideas is to fly a kite dangerously close to a nun. Sister Una O’Malley was a fierce woman who introduced many a young lad to the unforgiving edges of a metre stick. When I was a boy, my old man — who Sister Una had taught in Ballinasloe many moons ago — told me how she also had the nose of a bloodhound, and could detect truants smoking outside the school from the back of the prayer room. Knowing she had since relocated to Dublin, I tracked her down in 2014 when I was struggling to complete the final draft of a screenplay. The kite got to within three yards of Sister Una, and the next day I finished the script, which went on to win “Best Pat Short Short” at the one and only Pat Short Short Films Awards. Pretty much every time I’ve flown a kite dangerously close to a nun, I’ve come away with a mind full of killer creative ideas.


3. Say “Steve Irwin, Emmet Kirwin, Ben Sherman, Logan Lerman” 425 times

The numbers are the major factor here. Saying “Steve Irwin, Emmet Kirwin, Ben Sherman, Logan Lerman” 424 times will give you the worst case of writer’s block since that time you found yourself willing to write about your toenails in an attempt at breaking down that stubborn creative barrier. Saying it 426 times will open the gates of hell. So, remember: four, two, and five. 425 times. Do it. You won’t regret it.


4. Track down the bastard who never returned that book you loaned him

I consider myself a generous man. I regularly donate to fundraisers, and I give bread to birds — mostly pigeons — every now and then. But one thing I cannot abide is someone not returning a book after I’ve loaned it to them. I have bought people books, I’ve also given people my own books. But if you ask to borrow a book from me, I fully expect you to return it. Tracking down the man who as an eight-year-old boy borrowed my copy of R.L. Stein’s “Goosebumps: It Came From Beneath the Sink” gave me such a rush of self-righteousness that I wrote a 900-page tome that went on to inspire the founding of a religion that has over seventeen thousand followers in Ireland alone, and which involves the yearly burning of Katie Price’s autobiography in an effort to please the vengeful God Packangcha (whose name you must not utter aloud).


5. Sit in silence for seventeen days straight

This may sound like some trite technique from the East repackaged for a gullible Western audience; a patient yet nonsensical approach to “spiritual enlightenment”. But my grandfather sat in silence in a house in Tallaght for seventeen days straight, despite my grandmother talking to him every single day, and even resorting to poking him with a spoon on a number of occasions. But my grandpa persevered, and on the eighteenth day he invented the first electric potato peeler. It made him a fortune, before he blew it all on donations to the Catholic Church. But his experience is all the evidence I need: silence is golden.

6. Read “Ways to Be Creative” posts online

Remember that someone always has the answers you need. Since Jesus came along and had a laugh with his 12 mates, we’ve been looking to others to tell us how we should think and what we should do with our lives. And when it comes to creativity it’s no different. There’s a plethora of people out there with degrees lining their walls — which they attained at only a small cost, I imagine — who spend their days blogging and writing about the creative process. These people (if they identify as people) are your saviours . . . they will show you the way. Go forth and see the light.


There you go — six ways to be creative. Don’t give them a try. Now, I might have had a few more than I usually do. But what’s that I hear? It’s the call for last orders. Another few won’t do me any harm.

Until next time, I will be in the bar, with my head on the bar . . .

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