We consider ourselves creative people, and as content creators, we happen to get paid to be creative at work. Well, actually, we get paid to be “creatives” at work, which is a little different, we think.
The idea that one person is “a creative” and another is not is just silly. Sure, some people naturally possess certain talents, but we think that every person – from mathlete to CEO – has creative potential. The truth is creativity isn’t a gift, it isn’t a muscle, and it certainly isn’t a job. Creativity doesn’t live permanently in the mind of a creative person, it can’t be conjured at a moment’s notice, and it can’t be coaxed out with books, articles, or $500 seminars.
Creativity is way too cool to hang out with us all the time!
It visits us when it feels like it and then it leaves. Creativity is your super cool uncle with a goatee that drops in on the family Christmas party, slips you a pint of vodka and then disappears off the face of the earth for a few months (he was the best!).
Creativity doesn’t respond to the Venn diagrams or "idea clouds" that we make during meetings, and if you put 100 monkeys in a room with typewriters, you probably won’t get Shakespeare—no matter how much you pay them. Creative ideas—at least the really good ones—come when you least expect them.
So what can you do right now to be more creative at work? Absolutely nothing.
Give your brain a break. Stop stressing. Stop over-thinking it. Stop staring at a screen every moment of your day and then playing games on your phone until you fall asleep. (Candy Crush makes the muse ANGRY).
Yes, that’s right we said “the muse.” We don’t believe in “creativity angels,” but we do believe in The Muse, and The Muse is attracted to a wandering mind. Letting your mind wander has been scientifically proven to improve your creativity. So let’s stop thinking so hard and make stuff happen...at work and for ourselves. You can’t argue with SCIENCE, guys.
Ignore the people that dub you “a creative” or a “non-creative.” Ignore the voice in your head that tells you your ideas are not up to snuff. And certainly ignore everyone who claims they have a formula for fostering creativity because chances are, the work they’re producing with that formula is bunk!
And, please, for the love of God, don’t schedule time to be creative. Let us never forget the great artist who once said, “Free your mind, and the rest will follow” (OK, fine it was En Vogue).
Great ideas come to those who space.
If we may impart one last piece of advice, it is this: Use that little notebook thingy on your iPhone because you definitely won’t remember your awesome idea later. Don’t censor yourself—that muse, she works in mysterious ways. Everything is worth writing down because you just don’t know what will be useful in the future. For example, this blog post was born from the following note “creativity visits us, it isn’t us.”
See? We just wrote a poem and we weren’t even trying.
Andrada Morar is managing supervisor of digital strategy at Ketchum New York.
Carolyn Baccaro is copywriter, digital strategy.
Nick Patten is an animator, motion designer and video editor.