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Creating – You Gotta Start Somewhere

December 30, 2013

Creativity, that elusive bird… it’s a wonder it hasn’t smothered under the weight of all life’s pressures and constraints. I am certain it hasn’t though – I see it all the time. I feel it creeping up on me when I watch the everyday flutterings of people in my life. We are all designed to be creative, but sometimes we feel like we come up empty when put on the spot. I want to share with you what I consider to be the most reliable way to summon that creative monster crouching inside.

You can find suggestions on cultivating ideas all over the place, but for my money, the best way to get inspiration is to start doing the thing you need to do. All too often, people sit and stare at a blank page, or spend an eternity devising just the right strategy – and then get stuck. That’s because nothing has room to grow when locked in your mind with a slew of other ideas for competition. Start doing – write something, draw something, put your hands in it, knock it down – just DO something.

If you are writing, talk to yourself. People want to read something that sounds like a person wrote it, not like it came from a guidebook. So talk, and once you get going, maybe you will want to write down what you are saying. But even just random internal conversations have merit in sparking creativity; have a conversation with your toothbrush. Tell your lawn that you find its straggly appearance offensive. Pledge to avenge the mailman for your neighbor’s inconsistency at collecting their letters (don’t actually tell the mailman this, just imagine!). The point is to be unafraid to use your voice – not your actual speaking voice, necessarily, but your VOICE – the way you express yourself. Expose yourself this way, and you can’t help but generate something original. I begin just about everything I write in this manner, and it becomes a habit that you can access quickly after some practice.

The point is really just to begin. In the same way you should begin talking if you want to write, you can begin just about anything without really knowing where you want to end up. Start pulling in elements, create things that remind you of the client or subject matter, and discard things when they don’t work. In this way, you can get closer to your goal without becoming overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.

You may be saying to yourself, “this woman is a crazy person! Talk to my toothbrush? Preposterous!” Well, congratulations – you have just begun!

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