The new “Information Age” has made it easier to find jobs that pay for creativity. Changes in the workforce reward those who are talented, educated, and can create intellectual products. But this can be both a blessing and a curse. Creative works becomes less appealing when it’s required as part of your job performance.
Professionals practice a number of techniques to help them produce creative work:
- Get a rough draft going. Sit down with a pen and paper (or at your computer), and piece ideas together. Create a draft that becomes the starting point that you can work with later. Even if you don’t feel creative, get to work. In the process, you may get hooked on one element of your draft and can begin the real work right away. If it doesn’t happen, though, don’t worry. You can go back to your draft any time.
- Remember, it’s ok to admire. As a creative professionals I will tell you that it is ok to get ideas from other people. It’s okay to say the same thing in your own unique way. I call this “Reverse Engineering” There’s no shame in using inspiration from someone if it’s proven to work. Pick and choose elements from different people’s work, and combine them in your own way to make the project “your style.” Emerson said “imitation is suicide” so just don’t blatantly copy someone else’s work.
- Break your routine. For some people, the morning or work routine is semi-sacred. They won’t have breakfast before coffee no matter the circumstances, because the routine forbids it. But often most creative people don’t have any routine at all. They say a routine limits them from finding creative inspiration whenever, and wherever, it may be. Tomorrow, change things up a bit.
- Take your project outside the office. If your cubicle feels like an isolated trap, get out of it immediately and work somewhere else. Trade for someone else’s office, go to a nearby cafe, or take your work outside and into the sunshine. Explain to your boss that you just need the change of scenery, and if he or she says no, work on your project outside office hours. Spend ten minutes at home making your rough draft, and then bring it into the office the next day.
Sometimes we’re just not feeling it, and that’s okay. Even the most talented creative professionals have to work at their skills, and experience the days when nothing clicks. The difference between them and the others is they know how to channel their creative inspiration, because “fake it till you make it” will only get you so far.
Do you have a special practice or strange ritual you do to get in the creative state of mind? Share it in the comments, you may be able to help us out too!