A word on creativity

Word-on-creativity

….quite literally.

Creativity. Mostly everyone I know nowadays claims to be creative. BUT, is it enough to just call yourself creative?

Throughout my relatively short time on this Earth, as well as my extremely short time in the academic and professional world, I have picked up a few hints on how to be creative. I have primarily learned these tips and tricks from just going out and doing stuff. What do I mean by stuff? I mean literally anything. It could be: going to class, wandering around campus, or simply just surfing the Internet. It doesn’t matter.  Just, stuff.

Having said all that, as soon as this post is published, some other creative genius could come out of nowhere and contend with every point I have made and that is totally fine! As someone who is constantly open to trying new things, I would love to hear your arguments! Anyway, without further delay I present to some tips on how to get your creative juices flowing.

1. Surround yourself with weird and crazy people

Living in a college setting, I see more creative people than probably most regular people do on an average day. Why? Because college kids are CRAZY. Crazy people, and I don’t mean literal CRAZY people, are almost always creative in one way or another. College kids always manage to find a way to get something done, regardless of the constraints.

Have to write a 6 page paper due in two hours? Easy! Living in a tiny box shaped room shared with three other kids? We’ll make it a blast!

Creative people always manage to find a new or unexpected way of doing something. Sometimes it works in the best way possible and other times it fails miserably. And sometimes you have to be pretty crazy or surrounded by crazy people to come up with ideas that work wonders.

2. Do stuff

This one is easy. Just do stuff. I don’t care what it is, just do something. Preferably, do something you haven’t done before. Get some new experiences in your life. Have some memory or past experience to draw upon when someone asks for your opinion on something. No one cares that you binge-watched the entire series of Downtown Abbey or Orange is the New Black. Sure, these can be fun activities to do when its a cold, rainy night but do so in moderation. Do other stuff as well and I promise you your time will be more well spent in the long-run.

I have taken this tip from my step-brother Bill Connolly. He always stresses this point in his book, his website, and in real life. He is absolutely right.

So, next time you’re out, go ahead and order that strange thing you’ve never heard of. Go ahead and volunteer in a street performance. Leave your comfort zone and try something new.

3. 98% of your initial ideas are crap

This can be a hard one for people to realize. It took me years to realize this, and it wasn’t until recently that I accepted it.

Almost all of the first creative ideas you have for something are worthless. Sure, they could be a nice thought or an interesting concept, but they are worthless. Your best ideas will flow forth after you get rid of all the crap ideas.

In my high school graphic design classes, we would be required to sketch like 30 ideas for a logo. Once I got going, I thought it was pretty easy. But after logo number 9, I had run out of ideas. I used to think this was a complete waste of time. 30 logos? Really? My first one is easily the best. No one could tell me otherwise.

It was only after years of doing this exercise in one form or another that I realized how important this process was. Once you are actually forced to think about something and disregard your initial ideas, you truly start to come up with creative solutions.

Get all the small ideas out of your head and search for the BIG ideas. These will be your best creative ideas.

In a rather brief form, you now have 3 creative tips to use the next time you’re working on a creative project. Try them out and let me know what you think.

-Drew

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