I don’t know why I do it, like a moth attracted to the pretty white light of a bug zapper, but I keep opening articles on Medium about my favorite subjects.
Naturally, I’m disappointed to find someone babble on in generalities and rehash the same tired ideas as every other writer.
As someone who has worked in advertising and design for over twenty years, I’ve been paid to come up with ideas, so creativity is one of my favorite subjects.
The problem is, most of these creativity articles are life hacks written by hack writers trying to achieve their three post per day writing quotas.
The idea that the “creative juices stop flowing” may have more to do with the soulless activity of being a snake oil salesman than an actual lack of ideas.
But heaven forbid someone should write about a subject that might actually interest people when your agenda is all about monetizing your content.
If you want to avoid ever reading a self-proclaimed creativity-boosting article again, here’s the summary of the vast majority of articles I’ve read in the category.
I’ll just list them in one paragraph, so you can skim over it and forget it as soon as you’re done.
It’s not that any particular piece of advice is bad, but that the same things are repeated over and over, and the authors completely gloss over the most important elements of creativity, which I’ll discuss afterwards.
Okay, take a deep breath and hold your nose as we go through the same old stuff (all found in curated articles — thanks Corgis!).
Take a nap, write a diary, go in nature, take a ride, meet people, find solitude, ask a question, read the news, watch educational content, play music/add noise, find a quiet place, write any crap that comes to mind, look with fresh eyes, sleep/dream, go outside and play, have fun, wander, explore, experience life, create memorable titles, work hard, forget mistakes, remember the lessons, try the unknown, go outside your comfort zone, make time for yourself, be curious, do research, use an outline, fly by the seat of your pants, make writing a habit, take responsibility, think of abundance, quiet the mind, wake up early, don’t wake up early, stay up late, be a child, use chemicals to lose inhibitions, clean yourself up, lose your insecurities, use perceived slights to motivate you, avoid desires, let your hair down and have some fun, look at pictures, exercise, dance, walk, have sex, take a dump, walk the dog, eat a snack, sing, talk, recite poetry, call a friend, use a writing prompt, let go, just do it, develop some Pavlovian ritual that will cause you to salivate and start typing…
This list could go on, and include a hundred quotes from artists who, unlike the content marketers, actually know something about creativity.
Here’s a nice list of quotes. Maybe it will inspire you.
On the other hand, if you want to understand the creative process, here are a number of non-Corgi certified articles I’ve written on the subject.
In this first article, I shared one of the lessons I learned when I worked for an award winning designer, including a few creative exercises.
How to Think Different: A New Perspective on Creativity.
Practical lessons from movie posters you can apply to your writing.
Or maybe you feel like a sell out and don’t realize that being an artist is the ability to live totally in the present.
If you feel like you’re doing good work, here’s my own experience with the world saying “no” to your creativity and then eventually finding out I was right all along. Eventually, you learn to trust your creative magic.
How to Trust the Magic in Your Creative World.
When you know it’s great, don’t stop believing.
Finally, I applied peak performance techniques in sports to writing.
Writing is a Sport: Treat Yourself Like a Pro Athlete.
Winning the Inner Game means more flow and creativity.
If you’re not interested in science, here’s a dictionary approach to being an artist.
Finally, it you want a literary prompt, here’s a creative exercise where you could join a collaborative story and make some new friends at the same time.