How Do You Cultivate Creativity?

October 28, 2019

How do we cultivate creativity?  Is it something we inherently have, like hair color or athletic ability? Or is it something that we must practice? 

We think it’s a little bit of both, but while some are more naturally inclined to unique perspectives and imaginative daydreams, it takes perseverance and hard work to cultivate and maintain creativity.  

Even in a field like video production, creativity does not always come naturally.  Though most of us are inclined to identify as “creative types,” it takes intentional, daily practice.  Work ethic is what really makes someone a creative.  

“Great things are not done by impulse, but a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh

You’re not a creative just because you say you are.  It takes small efforts each day. 

We all have creative thoughts.  Our minds wander and imagine. It’s natural.  We’ve all stared out of the backseat car window as a child and daydreamed about building an empire.  Or falling in love. Or magical creatures lurking in the woods.  

Whether you’re in business or education or the arts, creativity is an active component of your work.  It’s more than creating a narrative concept or a beautiful image, it’s how you approach problems.  And, it’s about what informs your decisions, where you draw motivation, and how you find new perspectives. 

Furthermore, it’s the expression of that creative thought that takes effort and discipline and energy.  Everyday demands – deadlines, meetings, exhaustion – crush your creative energy.  

But, how do you maintain that energy when faced with the daily grind?  How do we – a group of self-proclaimed, professional creatives in the video production world – cultivate continuous creativity?

Establish Quiet Time in Your Daily Routine 

In 1941, beloved author C.S. Lewis (popularly known for the Chronicles of Narnia) noted,

We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”  

Solitude.  Silence.  Why are these concepts timelessly elusive?  We avoid being alone with ourselves, but why are we so afraid to sit in the quiet, in our boredom?  

It’s been 78 years since Lewis penned that observation, and our world is still starved for solitude and quiet.  We spend our time scrolling in waiting rooms, listening through morning commutes, always consuming.  

During free moments in the day, we’re texting a friend or our spouse, or checking an email, or updating our status.  And, sometimes we do need to send that text

{read: what do you want to do for dinner?

Did you know that “U.S. adults are spending almost half of every day interacting with media?”  And, it’s not great news.  

Without solitude and silence for reflection and personal growth, friendships are rendered superficial.  Philosophy and creativity found undeveloped. Our minds prone to inactivity.  

Finding time is a big challenge.  And, most of us would probably welcome more moments to ourselves.  The difference is realizing that quiet, unplugged time is productive. It gives you space to really think through the joys and challenges of the day and how to address them.  And, it lets you daydream a little, without Facebook interrupting your thoughts. 

Be Mindful About Your Media Consumption 

If you’re reading this blogpost, you’re plugged in, online, consuming media.  So, we’re presenting our disclaimer right now, loud and upfront.

Media consumption is not inherently wrong, social media does a lot of good, and listening is part of learning.  But, without intentionally setting aside time and space to reflect upon what you’ve consumed, you cannot add value to it.  You cannot position it within a critically examined perspective.  

What we listen to, read, and watch affects us deeply, whether we know it or not.  

If we eat hamburgers and french fries each day, how does it affect our bodies?  If we mindlessly consume media, how does it affect our creative process?  

Where do we seek inspiration?  Do we give pause to meaningful creations?  

While we can certainly find inspiration everywhere, creation cannot occur without a pause in our consumption.  We have to take a moment to breathe and be thoughtful, before we can breathe life into something. 

Figure Out What Energizes You 

Creativity takes some serious mental energy.  Mental energy requires {some} physical energy as well.  That means lack of sleep, lack of exercise, {having children}, drains those energy reserves.  

However, many days are in your work week, you’re bound to run into some slumps at some point.  Your to-do list feels insurmountable. You’ve been interrupted from your tasks by coworkers. Nothing seems to go as planned.  

You can’t wait until you feel like it to tackle most projects.  Deadlines loom. Someone is waiting on you. Your brain doth protest much.  

So, you’ve got to figure out what energizes you if you want your creative efforts to be fruitful.  

Maybe that means coffee.  Maybe that means a quick exercise.  Or maybe that means setting a 10 minute timer and doodling on a notepad or jamming out in your office {with the door closed, please}.   

Don’t waste energy on things you aren’t passionate about.  It is okay to toss a bad idea, take a break, and begin again.


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