5 Ways to Boost Creativity
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5 Ways to Boost Creativity with Erica Jong, Barbara McAfee, Linda Sirow, and Harold Koplewicz, MD



The Ranch experience inspires creativity. The panoply of classes from yarn painting to writing workshops encourages guests to use their imaginations, generate new ideas, and create original works. In March I attended a brilliant panel discussion in Tolteca Gym called Finding Your Own Creativity, moderated by Harold Koplewicz, MD, psychiatrist, and President of The Child Mind Institute in New York City. The panel members included Erica Jong, a best-selling novelist and poet, Barbara McAfee, a poet, musician, and teacher, and Linda Sirow, an artist and art teacher at the Dalton School in New York City. The speakers suggested numerous ways to boost creativity, and below is my recap of their valuable insights.

1) Let Go

“Take that critic on your shoulder and throw it out the window – you have to let go.”

Linda Sirow

This sentiment was repeated again and again by all of the panelists. They advised the audience to be present but without judgement, experiment with the creative process, and embrace failure.

2) Feel Safe

“We all have talent, but you have to have courage to go to the dark place where the talent is… When you’re blocked, the important thing is to feel safe.” – Erica Jong

A sense of safety allows people to express themselves in a creative way. Whenever Erica writes a book she says to herself, “Nobody will ever print this.” This statement gives her permission to write – to release the fear of being judged. Erica often writes in a notebook because it doesn’t look like a finished work, which alleviates the pressure to produce a final product for the world to read.

3) Get Moving

“I make things best when I’m moving… If I get stuck I go jump in the pool for an hour, and by the time I come back my hands are full. – Barbara McAfee

The inclusion of the body helps with the creative process. For Barbara, walking along a river, skiing, and swimming all inspire lyrics and poetry.

4) Find Your Creative Space

Erica, Barbara, and Linda each have a sacred space where they work on imaginative projects. Whether it’s a country house, art studio, or local park, find a place where you feel inspired to focus on your creative passion.

5) Try Something New

 “Hopefully sometime during the next few days, you’ll do something you hadn’t planned or hadn’t done whether it’s a hike or yoga, or some activity that gets out of your comfort zone.”  – Harold Koplewicz, MD

Dr. Koplewicz encouraged Rancho guests to push their limits. He advised them to be ready to master new knowledge and skills, and sustain intense effort and focus toward these skills to boost the creative process.

The Ranch provides a safe space to let go, get moving, find a creative place, and try something new. How do you boost your creativity? Let us know! Share your thoughts in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.