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Why Rising to a Challenge Makes You More Creative

Do Haiku - or whatever is out of your ordinary

Brightly colored umbrellas suspended over street
Creativity is Rising to a Challenge

You’re on, Helen Cassidy Page!

Normally I decline being “tagged” and expected to complete some posting on Facebook or add a random task to my long “To Do” list. It feels too much like the old chain letters that would threaten me with curses and calamities if I didn’t send the letter to seven friends within three days.

But when my Medium friend, Helen Cassidy Page tagged me with a writing challenge, I couldn’t resist. First, it involved word-working in a form I don’t typically use. (Is it bad that I get turned on by this kind of literary play?) No! It turns out that rising to a challenge is GOOD for my creativity.

Here are three good reasons to get in on the fun and boost your creative capacity in the process.

Creative activities stimulate multiple ideas

Doing something new and creative, something out of your ordinary routine, makes your brain work in different ways. The more it works, the more ideas are generated. Entrepreneur magazine says this:

…challenges act as a catalyst for us to think creatively and come up with simultaneous ideas or solutions.”

Any writer knows that you can never have too many ideas.

Rising to a new challenge strengthens your creative muscle

To be creative, you have to exercise your brain daily. That’s why writers spend part of each day writing. Painters paint constantly. Musicians practice their craft for hours on end. Athletes work out without fail. The more you exercise your creative muscle, the stronger and more reliable it becomes. According to “9 Ways to Rewire Your Brain for Creativity,”

Creativity is a skill, and it takes practice to fine-tune it. The act of creating something actually spurs your mind to be more creative. Even for the most creative and innovative people, about 10 percent of their work is natural talent and 90 percent is labor.

You can be the most creative person in the world, but if you don’t put in the WORK to get those creative ideas into a form, you won’t get anywhere.

Focusing on creative challenges generates REPEATABLE, SIGNIFICANT results

Now, who doesn’t want that? Artists want assurance that the “great idea” they just had won’t be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Ideas and innovation WILL happen again. The good news is that the more you work on being creative, the more frequently you’ll get results. Ideas and innovation WILL happen again. Have you ever heard the phrase, “cells that fire together, wire together?” It means that continually using your brain to do an activity, the stronger the links between brain cells become. In effect, you’re paving a path for easy access to creativity. Georgetown University’s Lab Director and member of the Society for the Neuroscience of Creativity, Adam Green notes,

“Research shows that when people try to think more creatively, they almost always can — and those effects are both significant and repeatable.’

Think about it. Trying to be creative generates multiple ideas and stronger creative urges that are accessible and repeated over and over.

Take up the challenge!

Here’s Helen’s challenge, one that she passed on to me after she fulfilled the challenge Geetika Sethi had given her:

“In response to Brett Christiansen:
PROMPT: Write a haiku or tanka using the prompt word “dry” (or a derivative).”

My humble haiku offering:

I’m not a poet — (yet) — but it felt good to try something new.


Old woman faced the Dragon of age unafraid, Bones dry, joints screaming.


Get more ideas on stimulating your creativity:

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