Creativity is hard work. There are days when writing does not come from a flow of great thoughts, but instead comes from the discipline of putting words on paper each day. There are days when I stare at my white board hoping that I will have a moment of creative brilliance that will inspire me to fill it with new thoughts, illustrations, and bible passages. If you want to learn how to be creative, you need to practice being creative. It may not be complicated, but it is difficult.
Creativity is more about perspiration than inspiration.
Certainly in order to generate creative ideas you need to have inspiration. But I would argue that anyone can come up with an idea eventually. The difficult part of the process is not generating new ideas, but about creating when you have no ideas or when your great ideas have become old ideas that just need to be finished. It is painful to write when you have nothing else to say, but it just might be worth it. If you have a job in which you are expected to create on demand, you cannot avoid the fact that you will have to be creative when you do not have any ideas. So put in work and stretch your creative muscles; the effort you put into the hard work, the better the results when it comes time to deliver a quality end product.
Don’t believe the lie that creativity happens only in the moments of inspiration – where an idea is birthed in your mind in the middle of the night – that certaily happens but most of creativity happens in the moments where you put your blood, sweat, and tears into something that won’t be seen by anybody but yourself. The quality of the art that you create will not be determined by how brilliant your idea was but by the time you’ve spent perfecting your craft.
*Note: This post came in one of the difficult moments. It started with free writing a bunch of garbage and eventually got ripped apart and re-written and became a post.
What do you do to stretch yourself creatively when you have no ideas?