You have to be creative sometimes.
Whether it’s at work, or you’re trying to come up with a solution to a problem, there is always a need for a little creativity.
But what happens when you have a hard time getting your creative juices flowing?
We all go through it sometimes. Humans are creative creatures but even so, we sometimes struggle with kickstarting our creativity – especially when we need it.
A few weeks ago, I was wracking my brain trying to think of a creative idea for a blog post on my site, but no matter how hard I tried, nothing was coming out. I stared at a blinking cursor for what seemed like forever, before giving up completely and putting the task off for another day.
Because my entire career is now based off of my creativity, I began to research creativity and how to get the creative juices flowing, so I never bumped up against this again.
Here’s what I found..
Let Your Mind Wander
Even though a wandering mind is sometimes seen as a negative thing in our culture, a wandering mind is absolutely necessary for creativity.
According to the book Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman, creative solutions come to us when we aren’t focused on a specific task. The book illustrates studies that show that companies who let their staff have some free time to think have far more creative staff, who come up with better solutions.
Those hours of starting at the blinking cursor, or focusing on thinking about a solution to a problem are not productive in finding a creative solution.
Build a Creativity Habit
In the book Daily Rituals, the author Mason Currey illustrates the habits of dozens of famous artists and creatives dating back sometimes hundreds of centuries.
There is one thread that is woven between all creatives and their ability to churn out great creative work:
Creating a habit around creativity is a cornerstone of becoming a creative.
“Inspiration is for amateurs,” Close says. “The rest of us just show up and get to work.” – Mason Currey, Daily Rituals.
You know how, when you’re trying to use a glass ketchup bottle, it seems to have some sort of air seal?
And as you shake and shake, nothing comes out, but finally, if even one tiny drop of ketchup comes out, it ALL comes out?
That’s how creativity is.
Instead of sitting there staring at a blank canvas, make one tiny mark.
You’ll find that the next mark, and the next are more creatively inspired, until you’re right back to your creative self.
My problem when I’m looking at a blank screen is that it’s completely blank. Even if I wrote a sentence about my dog, or what I ate for dinner the night before, or how I’m feeling, at least I would be getting something out on the page. And like that first drop of ketchup, the rest would flow naturally out.
So if you’re trying to brainstorm ideas, start with just one tiny idea – even if it would never work or it’s a stupid one.
We have this idea of creativity that you’re either creative or your not, and your most creative when inspiration hits you like lightening.
That’s not the case, and if you sit around waiting for inspiration to hit, it probably never will.
So instead of waiting, take action to get your creative juices flowing. Let your mind wander, create a creativity habit and stop staring at that blank canvas.