Ideas for creativity …

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Let me tell you a secret. To produce art, you have to produce garbage first – a lot of it. If you want to write something amazing (and you’re not a genius), most of the time you’ll have to churn out a few bad ideas before brilliance hits. This isn’t to say that sometimes artistic genius isn’t struck on a whim. This is to say that moments of artistic genius usually follow many other failed tries.

This realization has helped me with my school work, creative projects, and just about everything in between. When I’m about to start a project, and I want it to be perfect, I’m probably setting the bar too high for myself. The fear and procrastination that result from this get nothing done. But starting something and failing at it is constructive in the long run.

I’m always trying to find ways to be more creative, because I like to write and I dabble in design as well. These are some of the things that I’ve learned from other people that I’ve found useful.

The creation of good art follows many, many, many unsuccessful tries.
In other words: When you create something, don’t expect that it will be amazing the first time you put any effort in. Be patient with your work and yourself. Don’t get discouraged.

Sometimes a good idea isn’t obvious.
In other words: Don’t underestimate the potential of your ideas. Amazing ideas may not look amazing, or even sane, on paper. Take a lesson from da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, and the slap chop guy.

[da Vinci’s famous helicopter sketch]

While it is good to be humble about your work, and to be open to criticism from others, don’t give up on an idea that you believe in when others don’t. Once I was listening to Glenn Marais, a songwriter, speak about creativity. Apparently the first time he played his song Everybody Wants to be Like You for his band, they all thought it was awful. Yet he kept working at it and it became the fifth most-played song in Canadian history.

The more ideas you come up with, the more good ideas you’ll come up with.
Write everything down. Carry a notebook (find the perfect one here) so that you can catch every stray idea that enters your mind. On top of developing your creative thinking skills, you’ll be archiving doses of inspiration for later use. Boo-yah.

[My pretentious Moleskine notebook.]

You are what you consume.
In other words: Read, watch, and listen to good stuff, because these things will be reflected in your thoughts, abilities, and ideas. Stretch yourself occasionally by tackling a book/movie/album that you find intimidating or strange. In grade 12 I decided to read Little Dorrit, and while all 850 pages were slightly painful to read, I ended up really liking the book and learning a lot from it.

So that’s all I have. What ideas for creativity can you share? Tell me in the comments!

[Also! Read my fellow eAmbassador Juan’s personal, honest, and sort-of-related post about inspiration.]

*Ideas stolen from Brooke Fraser, Glenn Marais, Eric Courtney, Annalise Huynh, Thomas Edison, the slap-chop guy

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