Tuesday, May 28, 2013

12 Creativity Techniques

12 rules to help you overcome your limitations.

1)  You are not the best judge of your work.  It’s good to strive for satisfaction in your creative endeavors.  But remember you are often your own worst critic and you are too close to your creative works.  Have you ever written something and read over it so many times that the words start blurring together.  You’ve run spell check several times and it’s come out clean.  Then you have a friend look at it and instead of “He crossed the room”, you have “He crossed he room”.  And you never noticed?  You know what you meant to write or say, and you think you’ve said it.

2)  You’re friends, family and teachers may not be the best judge of your work.  I’m not saying don’t show your work to these people.  Depending on your relationships you may get some well earned support to continue in the process or some constructive criticism.  Occasionally, someone close to you might be unduly critical of you for numerous reasons, jealousy, envy or competition being among them.

3)  Turn off the inner critic.  This technique is very important.  Focus on the process and less on the result.  Focus less on judging your work and more on producing.  Ultimately, your work will be judged, fairly and unfairly by many people.  There’s an old like “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has them”.  And whatever you do don’t compare yourself to others.  You have your own unique journey and you are exactly where you need to be at this moment.  I know that can be difficult to swallow, especially if where you are right now stinks but if you can - just relax, it’s all going to change anyway.  And you can take steps to go in the direction you want.

4) Fail and be willing to fail again.  Did you know that most billionaires have declared bankruptcy at least once?  Or that for every sales call that a salesman makes, they usually get 40 Nos before they get a Yes.  If you’re not will to fail, look stupid, feel embarrassed or slip and fall it’s unlikely you’ll end up an Olympic skater.  Babies don’t come out of the womb making whole sentences, they start with gibberish - do we yell at them when they say duhduh instead of dada?  No, so allow yourself to fail, you’ll never win or get any better if you don’t.

5) Take Risks.  Move out of your comfort zone.  Closely related to being willing to fail is being willing to take risks.  Obviously, you’ll never fail if you don’t take risks.  And on top of it, if you don’t take risks, there will be times you won’t meet new people, won’t take that new job or even look for that new job or even think about changing your hairstyle or trying Ethiopian food.  The world can be scary or exciting or a mix of both.  Challenge yourself to take small risks and as you do you may widen your comfort zone and then you can take smaller risks outside of that.

6) Dream Big.  It’s the most energizing.  If what you are seeing in your minds eye doesn’t excite you than you aren’t dreaming big enough.  If it excites you but you think “Oh that’s too big, I’ll never get there.  Make that dream the one you use.  Infuse it with all your imagination and it will in turn get those creative juices flowing.  Work towards it - trust it.  If what you really want is a Ferrari and you don’t have the money for it or any car, but you think well I can eventually make enough to buy a Toyota, trust me you won’t be motivated enough to get the Toyota or the Ferrari.  Dream BIG.

7)  Cut things up into manageable bites.  Sometimes when you have a big dream and you have no idea how to get there it’s helpful to dream about the various ways you could get there.  Create some action steps that will take you towards it if not all the way there.  This creative technique keeps you from being overwhelmed and at the same time allows you to see progress towards something that you desire.

8) Take Action.  We can all fantasize about being famous, creating that wonderful poem/song/story, buying that dream car (or house) or ______________ you fill in the blank.  But then we go home, sit on the couch and watch TV.  I’m all for relaxing and watching TV, but if that’s all you ever do, you’re dream should be changed to being a couch potato.  I have a friend who is a best selling novelist.  She’s very prolific and has her own process, it starts will writing a few pages every day.  Some of these she keeps, some of these she edits out but no matter what she writes every day, it’s a creative technique that helps her get towards her ultimate goal, the novel.  What if you hate what you write?  See #’s 1, 4 & 5.

9) Finish something.  I’m not saying you have to finish every project you start but ff you never finish any project or you abandon them half way, just take the risk and take something toward completion.  Sometimes, when you got back to a project you stopped along the way, you will have new insight into it and can then finish it in a way you never dreamed when you started.  It may end up better than you thought, whether or not it does completion, in itself, is a good end.  It creates a void where there once was clutter and allows you and the universe to work together to fill this empty space with something new.

10)   Have fun and enjoy yourself.  Don’t work all the time.  Strive for balance.  This one is the most difficult for people like me, I’m a workaholic.  I like to be busy, create lists and check things off.  Even when I’m home watching TV, I’m generally working on some project.  So don’t underestimate the value of goofing off, laughing and being silly.  If you allow yourself those times, you’ll find yourself having more to offer when you start your creative project.

11)  Surround Yourself with other creative people.  Even if you’re the loner and the most introverted hermit there is.  Find a group that has a forum online, or meets four times a year where other people that do what you do get together, to bitch and share their triumphs and defeats and stories.  Just as work breeds work.  Creativity energy feeds itself.

12)  Break the rules.  This is the most important rule of all.  I had a teacher who once said, “You can break the rules - once you know how to use the rules first.”  Think of the above creativity techniques as rules or guidelines if you prefer.  Try them, use them, get good at them and then if a rule doesn’t serve you, throw it out the window and don’t use it.   But experiment with them first before you dismiss them with “they don’t work”.


Post a Comment