How to be Creative When You Aren’t Creative

I’m not creative in the traditional sense. I can’t draw, I can’t paint, I can’t come up with a game-changing idea on the spot all the time. Can I be creative? Sure, but it’s a process. Some designers can put together a wireframe in a matter of minutes. It took me months to get my website published and even then it’s not perfect (it’s far from perfect; we’ll talk about the concept of perfection eventually). I develop ideas over time because they come to me over time. Rarely are my thoughts so linear and focused on just a few topics that I can put them out there easily, especially in an actionable way.

I want to be a daily blogger, eventually a vlogger (definitely weekly, maybe daily…maybe), and I want to run a media and technology company. Those need creativity. A phenomenal amount of creativity. And I just said I’m not creative. I need to be able to think on my feet and be creative on demand even when that’s not my nature. Therefore, I need to get creative about creativity. Here are my thoughts on how that can be done:

1. Steal.

Ok, not steal. More…borrow. Improve upon and add value to other peoples’ work. We live in an interconnected world where we benefit from the crowdsourcing and borrowing of ideas. Is plagiarism wrong? Without a doubt. Is stealing bad? Yes. But looking to others for ideas and improving upon their ideas is efficient. We don’t have to re-invent the wheel with everything we do. It’s not efficient and it’s not even always possible. What is efficient and possible is making vast changes to existing ideas and making them actionable.

This isn’t taking someone’s work and passing it off as your own. Not only is that obvious (again, interconnected; it’s pretty easy to see who was first and whose idea it really was) and wrong, but it’s not necessarily going to work. If the idea or product is out there, there is no guarantee that an exact copy is going to do as well or work at all. If the idea is out there and it isn’t notable, there’s probably a reason. This is unless you are already important and famous. Then you can probably steal or push something subpar and it’d work out. But if that applies to you, you’re probably not reading this anyway.

Bottom line, if you see an idea out there and you can add value to it and really make it your own, I think that’s ok. Make it really different and better though, and give credit where it is due.

2. Share Something I Enjoy.

Everyone enjoys something. Some people seem like they don’t enjoy anything, but they enjoy something. Share it. This is a digital world where sharing is easy. Sharing something you enjoy is even easier. If you are struggling to find something to talk about, or share, or make, do what you enjoy doing. Forcing yourself to do things you aren’t good at or don’t enjoy is valuable and expands your horizons and may even make you more creative over time, but what we are really talking about here is being creative on demand and that’s not always going to work if you don’t enjoy what you are sharing. Not only will your material be better if you are sharing what you enjoy, but it is simply the easiest way to get out there and be creative.

If you like cooking, share what you make. If you draw and love sports, draw something sports related like an athlete or a stadium. Share what you enjoy. I like food and travel and will be sharing lots of that. I also like ranting, so there will be that too.

3. Ask People For Ideas and Feedback on My Ideas.

This goes back to crowdsourcing of ideas, just more directly. We don’t have to do this alone. There is no shame in asking for help. You probably have plenty of ideas, but when you start going for quantity or are forced to produce something, that stream of ideas might suddenly seem like it’s drying up. Ask people for feedback on the ideas you are able to get out. I’ve always found that discussing ideas leads to the creation of new, completely different ideas. Ask people to ask you things. Answering questions, either about yourself or the things you enjoy, or the ideas you’ve improved upon, is not only solid content but it again facilitates the creation of new ideas. Be sure to thank the people who help you give you feedback of course.

People are surprisingly willing to help. Help them when they need it, they’ll help you too. Multiple minds are better than one and if you need help finding something to write about, or to build, or if you hit a roadblock on a business that needs troubleshooting, ask for help.

Hope this somewhat helps. Alternately, you can always write about not knowing what to write about. That counts as content, right? If you enjoyed this piece, please share it with your friends or anyone who is struggling with being creative. I’d greatly appreciate it! Also, check out my website! It’s got lots of great content. I travel a lot and post lots of pictures. Feedback would be great too, so leave a comment.

Originally published at www.indranilmitra.com.

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