As humans, we are all blessed with four gifts: self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. In her new book, “Harness Your Creativity,” author and creative coach Nadia Tabbara offers eight practical tools to help us nourish and secure this natural creativity and then put it in action.
The Beirut-based writer, who has a BA in Film and Writing from Boston’s Emerson College, has been working on her creative methodology for over a decade. And in her book, she explains how fostering our creativity can help us in all kinds of ways. Tabbara, who has worked on major Hollywood films and popular TV shows, also describes how moves like writing things down, visualisation, breaking out of established patterns and carefully observing people and our surroundings can help us better employ our imagination. We talk to the driving force behind writing hub FADE IN to get some great insight about the creative process.
In your book, the first step to feeding creativity is to open up the discovery process. Would you say this is the most difficult part?
It differs for each person, but most people who want to find themselves again in their own creativity usually discover their voices very quickly. Then, it becomes a matter of practice, and the more you open yourself up to express your ideas freely, the easier it becomes until one day, it’s just second nature.
You believe getting to know our creative sides can enhance our personal lives, and you even gave an example in the book about how it helped you deal with complex emotions. Can you elaborate?
Creativity is such a broad concept, and most people think it only has to do with creating something physical – like a painting or a piece of music – but the fact is, creativity is found in everything because it is directly linked to our human nature. Essentially, humans have a need to understand themselves and the world around them.
In the book, I talk about one of my younger students who was trying to choose where to go to university for her masters. Of course she had done all the research, but she couldn’t make a decision, and she was lost. We used a very powerful creativity tool linked with imagination, so she could better tap into what she really wanted. That’s when the decision became easy.
You describe how talking to ourselves (externalising inner thoughts), can be used as a tool for discovery, as it helps us understand the things that are important to us. Why is writing things down so effective here?
Writing something down on paper forces you to get it out and examine it… sometimes, you don’t even know that’s happening, but there it is in front of you. Just the act of writing your thoughts down (without any analysis) helps you understand the challenges of the task at hand and prompts solutions.
You also touch on fear….
Fear is the essence of why we DON’T do things. I don’t think we can or should do away with fear, but the creative tools in “Harness Your Creativity” can help you recognise when it’s fear that’s taking the steering wheel; and then encourage you to take control again.
Harness Your Creativity
The next stage is based on knowledge, with observation being all-important. Tell us some of the ways social media and technology have impaired our observation skills.
I’m not a social media hater, that’s for sure! But, social media has made us turn a blind eye to the real things going on around us, something as simple as noticing our environment and people around us can make a big difference in how we see the world and how we see ourselves.
So how can people watching and being in tune with our surroundings hone our creative skills?
Read “Harness Your Creativity” to find out (smiles).
You list visualisation as a tool for attaining belief, the third step in the process. Can you give us some tips on how we can make visualisation easier?
Read “Harness Your Creativity” to find out (winks).
Action, when we start putting our creativity to use, is the final phase of helping us develop our best ideas. Could you share some ways to help us step outside our comfort zones so we can perform at our highest levels?
In “Harness Your Creativity,” this tool can be adjusted for each person’s life but essentially, I want people to know stepping outside their comfort zones doesn’t have to mean climbing mount Everest, it can be as simple as finding the courage to talk to a stranger. Inside this chapter, I write about small and simple steps in everyday life that can make a big difference.
We often associate creativity with artists, writers, potters, etc., yet it can also enhance businesses and help entrepreneurs. Can you tell us how?
Creativity is used to come up with ideas, solve problems and adjust quickly when something doesn’t go according to plan. These are needed skills for anyone in business or in an entrepreneurial setting (just as much as they are needed in writing a well-told story or composing a piece of music). Each and every person is creative, but not one person is like the other. Meaning, one person cannot mimic someone else’s creativity. What “Harness Your Creativity” does is give people tools that they can use for more success in their specific goals. This goal could be a business plan – a better system at work – or a painting/story/music etc.
“Harness Your Creativity” is available in Kinokuniya, The Dubai Mall You can follow Nadia Tabbara on Instagram: @hycreativity and @tabbaranadia