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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How Not to be Creative

We all have those times when we're in the zone, when ideas seem to come with ease and we are grateful-especially those of us in creative jobs-for those wonderful days.

Then there are other times when we panic and think we'll never ever have another creative thought in our lives and begin to worry how to pay the mortgage.

There are enemies of creativity that you need to be aware of and find strategies to deal with them.

First up, perfectionism. When faced with a project that has to be just right in order to please Mr. Big Boss or Mr. Influential Customer, you may feel that everything has to be prefect. What you need to know here is that perfection isn't necessarily needed and that your best effort may be sufficient. That isn't to say that you get away with inferior quality work, but you may be being a little too finicky.

Second, fear. Given the chance, our internal editors can come up with six million reasons why our project isn't good enough or our product isn't going to work the way it's supposed to. A small amount of anxiety is healthy and is almost necessary to ensure that we double-check our work. Fear, though, needs to be put in its place.

Thirdly, procrastination. There are those thrill-seekers who like to live on the edge and insist that a tight deadline gives them brilliant ideas. Personally that has never worked for me and from what I've learned about the creative mind, you need time to let your ideas grow and come to fruition. So, as far as possible, plan your project and build in a couple of days extra so you don't panic (see fear above).

No situation is ever perfect, but with a little insight and pre-planning, you can keep those enemies of creativity at bay.

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