As I was handed an unexpected work project late last week that required planning blog topics for all of my real estate and vacation rental clients 6 months in advance (and not much time to do it), I started thinking about creativity. And of course, I started worrying.
The Creative Dilemma
I write multiple blogs every week for these clients and have been doing so for many years. I don’t find it all that stressful most days and I do enjoy it more often that not. But doing it so often and for so long requires me to keep things fresh, interesting, non-repetitive and without having too much crossover among my client-base.
So, back to this work task. I was pretty much being asked to come up with nearly one hundred blog topics in a couple of days. Not the exact, SEO-friendly titles or content specifics, just topics… but still. That’s a lot. Not to mention all of the forethought that this task requires when it comes to considering each client’s needs, wants and preferences, the topics that are important to them, the seasonal timing of their particular vacation destination, their unique and specific content requests, and other long-term considerations that are vital to the satisfaction of the client—and the success of their respective blogs and readership. (Okay, well I actually did just mention these things because they are all integral parts of this task, and challenging ones. Trust me.)
But then came this fleeting thought; one worth noting. What if I become uninspired? What if I hit a wall? What if I couldn’t come up with enough solid, usable topics to put down on paper? Or worse yet, what if I choose topics that I dread writing about when the time comes? (That’s happened before, and I try to avoid that at all costs.)
Well, it was a fledgling thought that I really didn’t have the time or the energy to give too much attention to beyond recognizing it and noting it is a valid concern. But that thought was something that I revisited once my task was complete. I reflected back on that fleeting thought and explored it a little more.
And that’s where this blog post comes in.
What I Learned About the Nature of Creativity
We all read articles on how to elevate your creativity, how to find inspiration when it’s lacking, and overcoming things like writer’s block. I myself read articles like that quite often, as I am always looking to keep my creative arsenal as full as possible.
What I realized, though, is that there tends to be one thing that boosts creativity the most, at least I’ve found it to be true for me. It’s nothing more than the act of creating and creating often. It is a simple idea. One that was a bit surprising to me because it almost seems counterintuitive. Doesn’t more creative work ultimately lead to a lessening of ideas to draw from? Or does drawing from your creative well of ideas require that it refill and replenish itself more than it normally would if it wasn’t being drawn from much or at all?
I have noticed the latter to be the case. I haven’t intentionally sought out to prove it, but instead I’ve just noticed it over time, especially as the last few months brought more and more creative work to my already full plate.
I’ve found that in the process of creating, I’m actually exercising my creative muscle, so to speak. It’s developed a type of synergy where all of my creative efforts work together to propel me forward, and I unintentionally and unknowingly end up boosting my overall ability to create. So much so that I’ve rarely noticed a lack of inspiration. I haven’t hit a wall of writer’s block in quite some time. (I’m almost afraid to write those words, because I’m sure as soon as I do, my next post will be about How to Overcome Writer’s Block or something like that…)
This really does make sense in light of the fact that brain research indicates that we learn from making connections, as mentioned here:
Lots of great writers, artists and scientists have talked about the importance of collecting ideas and bits of knowledge from the world around us, and making connections between those dots to fuel creative thinking and new ideas.
Source: The Secret to Creativity, Intelligence, and Scientific Thinking: Being Able to Make Connections by Belle Beth Cooper
So back to that monumental work task that needed accomplishing. Guess what? Once I took a deep breath and starting mapping out my clients, the weeks, the months of topics—it all just flowed. The topics were not hard to come up with. In fact, I actually had more topics than weeks or months, so the rest of the year’s planning already has a head start.
I got it done. There were no walls. No big moments of frustration. Just sweet, sweet ideas.
So, what’s my advice for keeping those creative juices flowing consistently? Be creative and immerse yourself in creative projects or tasks whenever and wherever you can. Can you create nonstop 24/7? Of course not. Breaks are necessary for restoration and rejuvenation. But more often than not, success is found in the doing.
Exercise that creativity muscle, embark on creative endeavors that push your boundaries, and most importantly, just keep on creating.
What works for you? What boosts your creativity and keeps you inspired?