Our creativity is half imagination and half inspiration. If we look closely, we can find similarities in small and large ways in many cultural works. The concepts, ideas, sentence devices, and all manner of descriptive choice of words find themselves repeated in every aspect of writing and beyond. These come from somewhere, and it's usually from one creative mind who saw something and changed it. Possibly to fit their needs or maybe for pure inventive value, new things in art and culture tend to be related in some form to a predecessor. The printing-press is the predecessor of blogs and the pen the predecessor of that. Notice all three are still much in use and always will be. Like with the written word, any art form and its derivatives has a function in society.
How do we begin to create in ways that we can be happy with? What kind of mindset do we need to be our best creative self and how do we nurture that? Here are ten tips to help.
Enjoy Selective Culture
What comes in goes out again so we want to make sure we take in what resembles our desired output. Culture that confuses us, worries us, or leaves us feeling unsure of ourselves is not the right input. If the input isn't to the right taste, we won't feel inspired or influenced in the right direction. We might end up with a piece that's a plain attack at the ethos of what we don't like. Is that really what we want to be remembered for? Listen to uplifting music, watch rich and enjoyable films, read books about things that give you good ideas.
It's Not A Race
We can imagine ourselves as the half-mad professor with a brilliant idea, squireling away our secrets and rushing to publish the data first. It's easily done. Rushing and competing with an existential threat in our imagination isn't helpful in any way. It might feel like it gives us an edge but it actually robs us of our calm and creative place and when we rush, we rob ourselves of valuable time to get it the way we really want it.
Be Kind To Your Past
So you know more now than you did, and you might be embarrassed about your rookie mistakes. Join the club. We know you didn't know, neither did we when we made ours. The point is you were hungry to learn and learn you did. You were on the right path and you did do the right thing, without a few mistakes we can't be sure we're on the right path. Imagine if you still thought they were good ideas? It's a rare privilege to have an education in communication, business, art, and all the other things you've learned.
Work To Please Yourself
If we focus on what we think other people will want then our ideas are suddenly limited. Of course we need to be aware of criticism and when something is clearly wrong we have to put it right, however most problems will be soft problems. Matters of taste, style, aesthetic, difficulty, and all kind of things that shouldn't define success. If you are happy with what you have made and you can show that it achieves what you set out to then it's a great place to make your next move from. Just keep climbing.
So It's Not Really Work, Is It?
It's work in the logical sense, effort put into a situation in order to get a result. This is not boring though or tiresome. When you wake up you don't dread the daily routine of your creativity. When we become professional at what we do, and start doing it every day, the biggest mistake we can make is to become our nightmare boss – to ourselves. By emulating what we think a boss would do, and we've probably had a nightmare boss, and by making our work life miserable even though we've strived to get a job we love, we lose.
Ignore The Guidelines And Nod To The Rules
Everyone thinks they know the best way to go about creativity. There are plenty of good ideas out there which can help us on our way. Once we can be aware of a few great pointers, we can go our own way. There will be things we must pay attention to, for example health and safety, and then there are things we can ignore. There are lots of ways that people have used to describe particular culture and sometimes they expect new work to fit in the predefined box. There is a market for this but when you're wanting to make creative and cultural progress we need to be able to blur the lines.
The Time Is Now – Today Now
Every day you wait is a day more until you finish. You want this don't you? The dream is a powerful illusion, so powerful that you can materialise it with your hands. It won't look like much at first but it doesn't look like anything to anyone until its been transferred from your imagination and into the real world.
Don't Be Greedy
You might be lucky enough to get offers of help from various sources. Take all the help you can get, but be prepared to follow suit. If you're featured in a journal then share it, subscribe to their mailing list if they have one, become an active member of the community you've been handed. The social contract is more than please and thank you. It's about reciprocation and common courtesy. When we are desperate to make our way and all we see is people who are more successful than us then it can be an easy trap to fall into where we just grab all the kudos we can and then sing king of the castle for a few minutes.
Attention Is Our Greatest Asset
We all have a limited time on Earth, and what we do with it defines how we are remembered and how those we influenced behave into the future. Our attention is in constant demand, unlimited tv channels and radio stations, blogs like this one and others, advertising, friends, family, pets, we have to choose to pay attention to our creativity as much as possible. Having said that, we mustn't allow our attention to be hoarded either. We have to maintain a regular lifestyle in which we spend time with family and friends, we must maintain relationships and experience the world. Finding a balance between all the things that are important to us will make us the most creative in the end.
Remember You Deserve Money Too
A lot of jealous people would love to see you scrimp and save while they sit in their well paid but less fulfilling jobs. They might try to convince you that you don't deserve money and that what you do is nothing like work. You can be the judge of that, and when your judgement is right this will show in your end results. What you create will be valuable and will receive worth. It might take a long time to make enough money to compare to a full-time job but you have a right to earn from your art and creativity just like the rest of us.
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