Archive for the ‘This List Goes to 11’ Category

11 Habits of Highly Creative People

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008


  1. Borrow, Bend, and Bake Existing Ideas. Take something that's already out there (yours or someone else's) and toss, twist, and turn until it fits your current needs.
  2. Cultivate random thinking opportunities. Take advantage of your commute or trip to the grocery store to simmer on ideas for upcoming projects. Showers, and waiting in line are also good times for this.  
  3. Keep an eye out for new sources of inspiration. I have a friend who gets a magazine he would not normally read each time he takes a flight. Follow links on web sites and blogs. Watch a TV channel that you usually skip over. Read a new genre of book. Etc…
  4. Create a sacred space for creative work. Set aside a place where you will create. That means it's set apart from paying bills, doing paperwork, and the other tedium of the day. More thoughts here.
  5. Turn off your inner "this won't work" filter. The first idea is hardly ever "the one." Neither is the second or tenth. It's usually the variation of the variation that's the winner. Create lots to create best.  
  6. "Think with your hands." Get your brain involved in other activities to get extra neurons firing to find the eureka. Doodle, knit, build something, do dishes, fold laundry…  
  7. Build a library of creative resources. Scour the web, read blogs, listen to podcasts, stock books and magazines. I spend about 15-20 minutes each morning and again in the afternoon reading my favorite sites and blogs. 
  8. Learn the story. Every project has a unique story. It probably happens in the context of a larger mission statement, but what's the unique story of this project? If you don't know, articulate it for yourself and others.  
  9. Have fun. Life is too long to not spend as much time as possible doing things you love. Of course there will be parts of almost every day that are not fun, but that should be the exception not the rule. Hopefully, your attitude is you can't believe they pay you for doing this. Smile lots, it makes a huge difference for you and those around you!  
  10. Be persistent. Keep working, stay with it. I sometimes think of it like "the wall" runners talk about (I have absolutely zero personal experience with this phenomenon), and remember that it is hard work at times, but the rewards can be tremendous. 
  11. Network. Meet with others to share your ideas, struggles, and dreams. Get outside of the office. Share a meal.

11 More Things to Do When You’re Creatively Stuck

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008


  1. Stand up. Try working for a bit while standing. 
  2. Take your work to a new location. Head to the library or favorite coffee shop. If you can't leave the building, find an empty space for a few minutes (hours?) and look at 4 different walls. Maybe even trade offices with a co-worker for a day! 
  3. Do nothing. Take 15 minutes, and close your eyes. Or stare out the window. Let your mind wander over nothing and everything. Step away from the computer, close your door, turn off the phone, etc…
  4. Carry a notepad and pen EVERYWHERE! Inspiration is a funny and unpredictable resource – be ready when it happens.
  5. Eat some chocolate. At least it can't hurt (in reasonable quantities) and endorphins = good.
  6. Ask, "What would MacGyver do?" This, of course, assumes you have access to duct tape…
  7. Browse at Book Store/Hardware Store/Office Supply Store. The variety of "stuff" is fertile soil for creativity.
  8. Read poetry. Engaging your eyes and mind in the process of translating the words to visuals stimulates different parts of your brain and helps you be more open to new connections and ideas.
  9. Eat a meal at a new place. Again, new stimuli helps your brain make new connections and opens up the door to new solutions. 
  10. Get outside. Even a brief visit to the great outdoors (whatever the weather) may be enough to get rid of the rut.
  11. Laugh. Read a comic, watch a sitcom, seek out your funniest friend. Humor requires lots of brainpower, and once your brain is more awake, watch out!