You’re trying to be creative but drawing a blank. Whether you’re halfway through a project, or you fail to get out of the starting blocks, a creative block is an anxiety-inducing hurdle. Negative thoughts race through your mind as you ponder, “why was I not born creative?”
Many people debate over if creativity is inherited or learned, but it’s actually both. Creativity is “technically” inherited, but by everyone. It’s more of a common human trait than a gift. In fact, a widely cited study by George Land found that children are born creative but lose their creativity as they transition through life and into adulthood. Whether this creative corrosion is caused by life experiences, schooling, the fear of failure or all the above is up for debate, but the good news is creativity can be molded and re-learned. The bad news is non-creative behavior can also be learned.
But, just like any skill, creativity does vary from person to person. For example, we are all able to communicate with one another, but extroverted people will journey toward sales and team-oriented jobs, whereas introverts may lean toward individualized jobs such as a web development or accounting. Both are capable of the same skills, but they recognize their preferences and skillsets and head toward occupations fit for them. Similarly, those who love creativity might seek out graphic design or the arts, while those who choose a less creative path will look for more jobs with more organization, structure and procedure.
Regardless, every job will require some levels of creativity.
If you feel like you’re less creative, or are just beginning your creative re-learning process, creative gridlock is destined to happen. Here are some tips and pointers from the Bean Team on what they do they’re stuck and how they continue to grow their creative skillset.
Lacy Marshall-Donald—Director of Operations
Back in the day (about 3 or so years ago before I was Director of Operations) I was designing and writing for Transformation Marketing. Staying creative at that stage in my career was vital, yet pretty easy. I was always looking for creative inspiration on Pinterest and in GD Magazine, from commercials and other social pages. It was what I was engulfed in. Nowadays, it’s just as vital for me to stay creative, but I must be much more intentional about it. I’m not just looking for creative campaigns anymore, I’m looking for creative ways to lead, build and grow our team as well. For me, it’s a lot of podcasts, seminars, books, and brainstorming. There are so many great ideas out there that you can take and make work for your situation. I love hearing what others have done in and with their organizations and being creative on how I could apply it to what we do, here.
So, while I rely heavily on our team to be creative in their individual roles, they rely on me to build a creative atmosphere, give creative feedback, and creatively keep everything moving forward!
Louie Broz—Content Marketing Coordinator
My personal rule for creativity is to never stop creating—whether it’s content, ideas or simply thoughts—strictly focusing on a creative block only leads to paralysis through analysis. Even if what you create isn’t up-to-par, it can lead to more than what a blank stare will.
For me, context is everything. I’m constantly curious person so I’m always reading advice for my field and anything in general that grabs my attention, this helps me prevent roadblocks. When creative congestion inevitably occurs, my first step is to read professional work on the topic for a solid foundation of ideas to build upon. If this fails, I then look to some of my favorite storytellers— like Jad Abumrad and Malcolm Gladwell—to get my mind flowing again and distract me from my block.
My last-ditch effort is to plug in headphones, tune out the world and my project, and listen to music. As a writer, words are everything, so I’ll listen to artists with a vast vocabulary, out-of-the-box word usage or rhyming. My creative go-to artists are the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mac Miller, Kendrick Lamar and MGMT. If anything, this will at least calm me down.