Searching for Creativity After 250 Posts

Posted on November 18, 2011


This post is going up later than most of my entries so, to anyone who’s daily ritual includes reading my fine words of wisdom, I apologize.

I’m running later than usual for a couple of reasons:

This is my 250th post which feels like a milestone so, in honor of this momentous non-achievement, I slept in.

Because I am a little short on ideas for the blog lately; which is bound to happen over the course of 250 posts.

So, I took a little extra time to consider the creative process and look for suggestions about how to foster it.

While I plan to continue this search in the future and will probably tackle this subject again, here are a few suggestions I’ve poached to help you and I on those days when the creative juices just aren’t flowing.

1) Do Some Research

In his Harvard Business Review article “How to Think Creatively,” Tony Schwartz, author of the book “Be Excellent at Anything” says when faced with a creative challenge it’s important to absorb yourself, “in what’s already known.”

That can be studying the subject you are trying to write about or listening to other airtalent to look for new ways to tackle a problem.

In the Fast Company article “8 Secrets to Creative Thinking,” Bob Gill, co-founder of the design firm Pentagram, echoes Schwartz’ thought, “If the job is for a dry cleaner, go to a dry cleaner. And stay there until you have something that you honestly think is interesting to say about dry cleaning.”

He continues, “The more you research the subject, the more likely you are to discover something really interesting, or better yet, something original, something that no one has ever noticed before.”

2) Get Distracted

Schwartz also suggests walking away from your desk and doing something else when you hit a creative dead-end, “Where are you when you get your best ideas? I’m guessing it’s not when you’re sitting at your desk, or consciously trying to think creatively.”

While I call it distraction, Schwartz calls it “incubation” which frankly sounds a lot more professional. He describes the process as, “mulling over information, often unconsciously.”

3) Don’t Reinvent The Wheel

Gill also says borrowing potent imagery can help beat down a creative block.

In his world of visual design certain images have universal meaning: a heart means love; a skull and crossbones says pirate; red, white and blue equals America.

The verbal equivalent for a host are pop culture cues that your audience will relate to: Bernie Madoff equates to scam; Justin Bieber means teen heart-throb; Facebook represents wasting time.

The key, according to Gill, is taking these symbols and use them in fresh ways. As an example his logo (shown above) is a knight in armor drinking a soda through a straw which takes a well-known symbol and represents it in an unexpected way.