Marketing, like many other endeavors, requires the willingness to think from different angles and a healthy dose of creativity. But sometimes we—like you, perhaps—get stuck in comfortable ruts and thought patterns. So how are we all supposed to keep our creativity alive and buzzing? Feed it what it wants. We’ve put together our top tried-and-true practices to get the juices flowing and set the stage for a creative mind.
Engineer opportunities for surprise.
We all like our routines. They’re comforting. But as we’re noticing, creativity isn’t often born in comfortable climates. Sometimes surprises come to us unexpectedly, but most of the time, we have to take ourselves off autopilot and engineer conditions that allow for surprise. It sounds counterintuitive to plan for surprises, we know. But hear us out: get off your usual path and you’ll get off your usual thinking. You will think different thoughts on a hot air balloon ride than you would on your morning commute. You will absorb different energy on a jog through the woods than you would on a treadmill. You will create space for a shift in paradigm reading a book outside your usual genre. New experiences hit our senses more sharply and can invite a swerve on our usual thought patterns. And that’s the heart of creativity.
Spend time in solitude.
This one is tricky, mostly because we tend to confuse solitude with being alone. Cal Newport explains it well in his book Digital Minimalism, where he defines solitude as the absence of input. We’re only experiencing true solitude when other minds aren’t influencing ours—TV, social media, personal conversations, and reading all invite input from thoughts and opinions outside our own. And you can’t have original, or creative, thoughts when you’re allowing other voices to seep in. It takes enormous intentionality to spend time in solitude, especially today. But all creatives are in consensus: it’s worth it. Put yourself in a vacuum and you just may stumble over your own gold.
Seek out creative company.
If solitude is where you strike the match, being with other creatives is where you pour on the gasoline. If you spend time with people who like to hatch and develop ideas, it rubs off. You know that feeling you get when you hear someone talk about their idea/invention/plan/product? The one where your heart races and it jumpstarts thoughts about how you could do this, too, a little differently? That’s a good thing. Contrary to what some creatives may believe, an idea doesn’t have to be totally original to be yours. That’s the beauty of our creative minds; we catch inspiration from others and then twirl and bend it into something unique, useful, and worthwhile in our own sphere. At Rare Bird, we’ve been attending Creative Mornings across the city as a way to put ourselves squarely in the path of creative company, and it’s been nothing short of delightful. Creativity indeed sparks creativity.
There are countless creativity-coaxing practices out there, and these are just a few we’ve found to be helpful to us in our work and our lives. And now we’re curious: what do you find feeds your creativity? We’d love to hear!
“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.”
-Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear