5 STEPS TO JUMP START YOUR CREATIVITY

Creative blocks are a real problem facing many musicians, authors, artists, and yes, even bloggers. The age old question remains, how can you jump start your creativity? As long as there has been innovative thinking, there has been mental hurdles. Here are five different methods for overcoming your creative block.

1.       Change your perspective

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”   Abraham Lincoln

While President Lincoln may not have been referring to roadblocks in the creative process, he nails this jump starting tip on the head. This is one of the best places to start when faced with a daunting creative project. For example, a few months ago I had no idea what kind of blog to make. What would my audience want to read? What kind of blog would challenge my writing skills, while still enticing people to read at my work? When this problem was presented, I took a step back and changed my perspective. I asked myself, “What would I want to read?” and in my mind, there was no better place to start. Thus, this article and my subsequent blog was born.

2.      Embrace the Absurd

“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” ― Albert Einstein

This tip works particularly well when starting a new project. My favorite example of turning the absurd into a successful well-polished machine is the story of Twitter’s beginning. Back in the early days Twitter (which was called Odeo) was a product where you called a phone number and the program would turn your message into an MP3, which was then, hosted online (Business Insider). They were providing people with a platform for podcasting. Nothing like this had ever been done. The idea was out in left field, but there was something to be said about sending messages, podcasts, and status directly from your phone.

In the fall of 2005, their brand ran into a wall. That wall was called Apple. At this time, Apple announced that their music service iTunes would include a podcasting platform. This required some drastic changes for Odeo, but they knew their formula had some merit. By February of 2006, the Odeo team came up with a new platform (called Twttr at the time) that would broadcast a message to your friends if you texted your message to a specific number. From the absurdity of Odeo’s podcasting, a $20+ billion dollar company was born, and social media was changed forever.

3.      Break Routine & Go for a Walk

“The human spirit lives on creativity and dies in conformity and routine.” ― Vilayat Inayat Khan

A popular way to bust through your creative roadblock is to take a step back and break your routine. Behind the building where I work is a small pond with a path. One of the most therapeutic activities is taking 10 minutes to walk around the pond with zero distractions. This effectively breaks my daily routine, separates myself from any project, and clears my mind. When I return to my desk I have a fresh perspective on the project.  

This method can apply to a number of activities. For example, instead of taking a walk, sketch something in your office, do menial house chores, or read a book outside. You can’t imagine the kind of inspiration that comes from vacuuming your room twice over. What this does is remove the stress of overcoming that block, and allows you to come back with a fresh mindset.

4.      Practice Using your Creativity

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down." ― Kurt Vonnegut

I like to think of my creativity as a muscle. This may seem like common sense, but you won’t get any stronger if you sit on your couch watching Netflix all weekend! Now actually getting started with creative practice can be a challenge. For example, when I was looking to improve my Photoshop and advertising skills I started making ads for companies all over Indianapolis. I picked a handful of impressive ad agencies around town, and I started making ads for their clients. I had to put my Photoshop muscles to work!

You will never know how much this practice will benefit you until you get started! One of the ads I created actually secured me an internship with a startup company back in 2014. The quote from Kurt Vonnegut above is a great representation of how scary and rewarding practice can be. Now, please don’t jump off any cliffs, but take some of my tips to practice flexing those creative muscles.

5.      Have the Courage to Fail

“Sucking at something is the first step to becoming sorta good at something.” ― Jake the Dog

One of my all-time favorite quotes from the children’s television show Adventure Time. Not only is it an inspirational quote, it is a great way to get past creative hurdles. To sum up this tip in a short tidy action, just go do it!  Start writing the first chapter of your book, put your paint brush to the canvas, and play a new song that you have always wanted to learn. Do you want to know how many times I wrote this article? The answer to that question is “No” because my first few drafts were rough, to say the least. If you write a perfect blog on your first try, then I should probably be using your quote at the beginning of this section!

There is not perfect way to fight creative blocks. Only you will know what works best for you, so my suggestion is mixing them together! Think of some absurd ideas to practice your art and fail miserably. Your next painting may just be better because of it. All the tips and tricks can help get the process started, but it’s ultimately up to you to get out there and do it. Good Luck!

 

REFERENCES

Business Insider - http://www.businessinsider.com/how-twitter-was-founded-2011-4