Unlocking the Creative Mind

Twin Cities native Peter Himmelman is an award winning musician, and author, inspiring others to tap their creativity

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Twin Cities native Peter Himmelman was nominated for Emmy and Grammy Awards in a music career that began in Minneapolis. Today, his company Big Muse teaches principles of creativity, including these tips from his new book Let Me Out: Unlock Your Creative Mind and Bring Your Ideas to Life

1. Deal with your inner critic 
Himmelman encourages readers to acknowledge the voice of fear which he names Marv (an acronym for “Majorly Afraid of Revealing Vulnerability”). While our worries keep us from doing unwise things, they can also paralyze us: “We become, in a sense, slaves to Marv,” he writes. 

2. Focus on the rewards 
“Milky Way Moments” are what Himmelman calls pleasure akin to eating a giant candy bar; they happen when we’re fully engaged in pursuing goals. It’s satisfaction in the moment when we feel full connection between our deepest values and what we’re pursuing in the world—be it practicing a musical instrument or studying for a career change.

3. Picture Reaching Your Goals 
Visualization is powerful. Himmelman recommends picturing achieving your creative goal then writing a description of the moment in great detail, including sights and smells. Other exercises involve rewriting an episode from the past with a better ending, and writing a note to someone you blamed for a past failure.  

4. Welcome Getting Your Cage Rattled 
“Learning curves can be hard and at times overwhelming,” Himmelman writes, “but the opposite—and routines are just that—is boring!” Challenge and difficulty can be what drive our most creative thinking, and we’re never at our best when we get complacent. 

5. Nurture Yourself
Strategies Himmelman outlines for keeping creative batteries charged include writing out the names of everyone in your support network to bolster morale, as well as disconnecting from “pretty much any technology that was invented after the mid-1700s. See how four hours feels.” 

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Quinton Skinner is a writer and editor based in the Twin Cities. A former senior editor of Minnesota Monthly, he held the same post at Twin Cities METRO and 
has written for major national and local publications. He is the co-founder of Logosphere Storysmiths and author of several novels, including his latest, Odd One Out.