It’s the night before your fictional essay is due. You sit at your desk and rapidly search through your mind for even the slightest inspiration as your eyes glance back and forth around your bland room with nothing but a desk and bed. You’re experiencing writer’s block, again. We’ve all been there. Is it because of a lack of creativity? Are we simply not as genetically advanced as our peers who rarely experience these hindrances from our creative processing? Most likely not.


What Is Creativity?


According to the American Psychological Association, creativity is defined as “the ability to produce or develop original work, theories, techniques, or thoughts.”[1] There can be many causes for creativity, some inherited and some learned. There are also many ways that you can improve your creativity.


Is Creativity Learned or Inherited?


There have been numerous studies to determine whether creativity is something you are born with or something you acquire over time. There is evidence of creativity being both learned and inherited. One study by PeerJ, a reputable peer-reviewed journal, shows that the presence of a certain gene, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), can affect one’s ability to perform creative thinking exercises.[2] This, among other research studies, demonstrates that genetics certainly impact one’s ability to partake in creative thinking.

While genes can play a role in your creative ability, there are many other factors that influence creativity. Creativity is in large part a learned behavior. The Public Library of Science published

an article detailing a one-year creativity training program, and the results prove that creativity can be learned. The study showed that subjects in the training group performed better in the areas of fluency, flexibility, originality, and creativity when compared to the control group.[3] With this in mind, there are many ways that you can improve your creativity.

Three diverse artists are designing and performing their creativity.
Three diverse artists are designing and performing their creativity. Illustration by VAN Masha.

Ways To Improve Creativity


  1. Practice – Creativity, like any other skill, requires diligent practice to maintain and improve. Healthline suggests researching other creative ideas that could potentially spark something in you.[4] Exposing yourself to new ideas can aid in forming your own original ideas. Trying new things, such as new hobbies or a vacation to an unfamiliar place, can also improve creativity. This is also tied to maintaining a curious mind; curiosity is strongly related to creativity.
  2. Place limitations – The smaller the box, the more room there is to think outside the box. Some examples of limitations inspiring great creative works can be seen in both the works of Dr. Suess and Koji Kondo, the musician for Nintendo.[5] In many of his books, Dr. Suess was challenged to use only a limited number of words, and this limitation resulted in some of his most well-known books: the Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham. Likewise, Koji Kondo had a limited number of notes he could use due to technological complications, yet he was able to create the Mario theme song that we all know and love. This strategy may not work for everyone, but it can potentially help generate new ideas.
  3. Mindfulness – Mindfulness can have many benefits, one of which is an improved ability to come up with original ideas. Mindfulness and creativity go hand in hand. Research shows that mindfulness “improves a person’s ability to concentrate, decreases the fear of being judged, and enhances open-minded thinking while reducing aversive self-conscious thinking,” all of which are necessary to be able to think creatively.[6]
  4. Adjust your goals – While many people believe that perfectionism reduces your ability to be creative and have an open mind, studies show that aiming for excellence can actually improve creativity. One study analyzed two different groups of students: one group that aimed for perfection and one that aimed for excellence. The results of the study showed that students who aim for excellence were able to produce more ideas and more original ideas.[7] Perfection may reduce your ability to be open-minded, while excellence may improve your ability to think creatively.
  5. Take care of yourself – Taking care of yourself may seem obvious, yet so many people neglect to acknowledge the consequences of not taking care of oneself. Maintaining a healthy diet and getting an adequate amount of sleep can help with your creativity. Studies show that people who have a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables are typically happier and more creative.[8] This is likely because of the nutrients they contain that produce chemicals that promote happiness and curiosity. Likewise, sleep has a positive impact on creativity. There are numerous examples of creative celebrities coming up with their ideas in a dream, and getting a good night’s rest can help clear your mind and make you more open to new ideas.


While genes can affect your creative ability, there are many ways you can improve creativity as a skill. The next time you find yourself struggling with coming up with an original idea, try exposing yourself to creative ideas, placing reasonable limitations on yourself, clearing your mind, striving for excellence over perfection, or getting more sleep. Anyone can be creative.


Read more art-related articles on Zealousness blog Arts – iN Education Inc. (


Works Cited

  1. “APA Dictionary of Psychology.” American Psychological Association. American Psychological Association. Accessed January 24, 2023.
  2. Ellwood, Beth. “Study Suggests That Striving for Excellence – but Not Perfection – Boosts Creative Performance.” PsyPost, June 11, 2022.
  3. Fraser, Victoria, Lori Noel, and Anna Lodwick. “The Psychology of Creativity: How to Nurture a Creative Brain.” ReviewStudio, November 23, 2022.,a%20strong%20imagination%20and%20expressiveness.
  4. Friedman, Ron. “What You Eat Affects Your Productivity.” Harvard Business Review, March 27, 2019.
  5. Han, Wei, Mi Zhang, Xue Feng, Guihua Gong, Kaiping Peng, and Dan Zhang. “Peer Review #3 of ‘Genetic Influences on Creativity: An Exploration of Convergent and Divergent Thinking (v0.2)”.” PeerJ 6 (2018).
  6. Henriksen, Danah, Carmen Richardson, and Kyle Shack. “Mindfulness and Creativity: Implications for Thinking and Learning.” Thinking Skills and Creativity 37 (2020): 100689.
  7. Pietrangelo, Ann. “Left Brain vs. Right Brain: What’s the Difference?” Healthline. Healthline Media, May 9, 2022.
  8. Ritter, Simone M., Xiaojing Gu, Maurice Crijns, and Peter Biekens. “Fostering Students’ Creative Thinking Skills by Means of a One-Year Creativity Training Program.” PLOS ONE 15, no. 3 (2020).




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