At the drop of a hat, I can be creative. However, it hasn't always been this easy and I still have struggles occasionally...
At the drop of a hat, I can be creative. However, it hasn't always been this easy and I still have struggles - occasionally.
My Primary Challenge
My primary challenge was I considered myself more business-minded and a bit of a numbers girl, not necessarily the artsy type. If this sounds like you or if you have issues thinking of creative ways to present your business, product or idea, this article is for you.
What "Creativity" Looked Like To Me
Complete silence, in a room with no windows and no pictures on the wall, was my preferred setting. I envisioned myself as most creative with only my laptop and no possible distractions.
I didn't necessarily have a ritual, and generally, my plan of action was to bang on the laptop until my "creative" project was done.
There was always something gnawing at me telling that creativity is supposed to be fun and exciting. A far cry from my room with no pictures and no windows.
I began some personal and professional development work around managing my state and energy levels. At this point, I realized that creativity is a state. Just like with any other state - anxious, desperate, euphoric or peaceful -- there is a way into any state and a way out of any state.
I'm a marketer and my partners count on me to be in a creative state more often than not.
Given this, I figured it is worth my while to understand how to get into the best creative state.
The tools I use to tap into greater creativity can be used whether you're a multi-tasking intrapreneur, a highly technical entrepreneur, a student -- or anything in between.
Entering the Creative State of Mind
- Make the time: Set aside a solid block (1/2 hour, 1 hour etc) to focus only on the campaign, presentation, program etc. I block this time into my schedule at least one day beforehand. Honestly, for me, it works best to set aside blocks of time for the coming weeks.
- No distractions- A vibrating phone that you keep side-eyeing is a distraction (I know, I'm bummed about that too). You know where you can put your phone so it won't bother you. Do it.
- Set a clear intention: As I sit down to write, design, produce etc, I give myself a moment to clarify my desired outcome. It's a bit like visualization, but it keeps me honest about what my creative "success" looks like. If you have a process that works already, use that, but have a process.
-Know when to (temporarily) stop: If I don't reach the desired outcome at the end of my hour, I may extend that time, unless I'm growing increasingly annoyed and anxious with each passing minute.
If there is an issue of self to deal with, I'll give myself a time out so I can re-calibrate and understand the nature of the real issue. Sometimes my intention isn't clear, other times, I simply need additional time.
Creativity for me used to mean writing the perfect blog post in record time, creating a bulletproof integrated marketing campaign in one sitting or delivering the most clever social post on every try.
As I began to put a process around my creativity, I realized I fare far better when I see it as a journey, rather than a goal.
Even with this set process, I still test what works, monitor improvements and let go of tools and tactics that don't serve me.
Structure In Creativity
It's amazing, but when I added structure to my creativity, the process became more colorful and fun. Structured creativity works for me, but I'd like to hear your thoughts about how you get into a creative state.
Image: Victoria Bilsborough
Also published in Startup Grind