How to Stay Creative

Keeping Creativity Alive

Having worked in the creative industry for over 15 years, sometimes I’m just plain done with coming up with one more creative idea. Yet, over the years, I also know being creative breathes life and energy into me. If I can get beyond that ‘creative block’, I easily lose track of time as the creativity juices flow from one idea to another.

Borrowing from an ebook I recently read by David Duchemin called “The Inspired Eye”, he lists several points in keeping the creativity alive. His points, with my interpretation, follow.

Inspiration Comes with Working

I’ve found that creative ideas come after I start doing the creative work. If I wait for the creative idea to come first, nothing would be produced. Work brings results. Doing the craft generates more ideas. The act of writing produces more writing. The act of being creative produces more creativity.

Two books that address this better anything else I’ve read are The War of Art and Do The Work – both by Steven pressfield.

Increase Your Inputs

If we’re not careful, we eventually gravitate to only what’s comfortable and what we know. We begin to remove ourselves from those things that stretch us, that make us grow. Do something different. Travel farther. See a different kind of movie. Study paintings, logos, photographs, websites. Go on a walk. Listen more. See more.

Incubate

I don’t think any creative piece I’ve done has been done in one sitting. I may get a piece of it from a walk, another from a commercial, another from a logo on a semi. I may try to put it all together as a design piece, but that piece will then sit for awhile. Another walk, another commercial adds another piece to the puzzle. As Duchemin mentions in his ebook, “Give the idea time and space to grow.”

Know Your Creative Space

Some people work well in activity and chatter. Others need quiet and order. Find what your creative space is. This includes mental space and physical space. Mental space is what’s needed for the creative juices to flow. Negativity and ‘no’ tend to close down the mental space. Positivity and ‘yes’ tends to open up the creative juices. Surround yourself with what’s need for the creative energy to flow. Physical space may be a coffee shop, or a quiet library, or a home office. Some need music. Others need it perfectly quiet. Find your own creative space.

Embrace the Constraints

Technology, clients, skill level, logo colors – all these (and many more) constrain our creativity. Yet, as Duchemin points out, even the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright said, “Man built most nobly when limitations were at their greatest.” Use creative thinking to work with the constraints, not wasting your energy in working against them.

Be Open to Serendipity

Go with the flow. Live a Yes, open life instead of a No, closed live. The first rule of improv is this: Saying Yes. To be open to what comes creatively we need to live with yes. Saying yes produces more yeses, more ideas, more creativity. Allowing to be what is and moving with it brings grace and possibilities to a situation.

Make More Mistakes

Creativity is risky stuff. Being creative pushes against boundaries. You must risk. You must make more mistakes. Let yourself make mistakes. Art is not for the safe. If we operate within safety, our creativity suffers. Try something new. Risk. Try. Fail. Try something else. Do it all again.

What are ways you keep the creativity alive?

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