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Seven creative sins you need to avoid.

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Seven creative sins you need to avoid.

Benjamin Franklin once said that “sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden, but it is forbidden because it is hurtful.” And Mr. Franklin couldn’t have been more right.

Creative sins are hurtful to everyone and their creativity. If you are committing any of these seven creative sins, you are hindering your creativity and hurting your creative self - even if you don’t know it yet.

7. Thinking that creative is learned. Despite what some believe, creativity is something we are all born with. When you were a baby you used your creativity to fit the square peg in the square hole, nobody taught you how to do that. Believing that you MUST attend school to learn how to be creative, or thinking that creativity is something that is learned is a fallacy. Creativity is something we are all born with. Creative methods, however, aren’t.

6. Not taking risks. Creativity is all about coming up with new, unique, and remarkable ideas. If you aren’t taking risks with your creativity, you might as well not try to be creative at all. When you stick to what is already known, and you avoid risks, you are avoiding really great discoveries… which creativity is all about. As Sir Ken Robinson once stated: “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original.”

5. Thinking there is a right way and a wrong way. Most things in life (other than second grade math questions) will have more than one right answer. If you think that there is a “right way” to the creative process, or that there are right and wrong methods to creating, you are committing a creative sin and greatly hindering your own creativity. As stated previously: creativity is all about discovery. You can’t say something is “right” or “wrong” if it hasn’t been discovered yet. Right?

4. Focusing on logistics. Creativity is random. It’s like lightening that strikes when - and where - you least expect it. There is almost nothing about creativity that can be linked to logistics. So why, then, would you focus on logistics in the first place? Other than the fact that it is in our nature as human beings, keeping a focus on logics when trying to be creative is pointless.

3. Being creative half of the time. To be truly creative is to change the thinking process. Instead of going with routines, following rules, and making creative sins, you should try asking “why?” and “why not?” to everything. You should be exercising your creativity in everything you do. The more you incorporate creativity into your everyday life, the more powerful your creative mind will become. Don’t think you can just be creative half of the time and get away with it. Michael Jordan didn’t become one of the best professional basketball players by deciding to practice shooting hoops half of the time.

2. Creating and critiquing at the same time. One of the biggest creative sins you need to avoid is creating and critiquing at the same time. When you are creating, and being creative, you are making discoveries and moving forward. When you critique your work you are looking back at what you have done and evaluating it. You can’t look forward into new creative ideas while looking backwards at the same time. Instead, create, then critique. Your end results will almost always be better. I promise.

1. Duplicating, not creating. The all-time biggest creative sin is duplication. Duplication is where you look for inspiration in what already exists, but - instead of using it solely for inspiration - you tweak it to fit with what you need. This is a big no-no in creativity. By duplicating other’s work you aren’t creating, merely copying. Because it’s so easy to do, a lot of creatives will often duplicate work to fit their needs, rather than drawing inspiration from the techniques and pieces of the work so they can build on it, and they miss out on creating some remarkable work. Don’t duplicate work, draw inspiration from it and then create something completely different.

Committing these creative sins can greatly hurt your creativity, so do your best to avoid them at all costs. And if that wasn’t enough to feed your creativity today, come back soon to read my next article on seven creative habits you need to acquire.

Original photo by Eliya.


Tanner Christensen

This article was written by Creative Something founder Tanner Christensen. For more creative inspiration follow me on Twitter, like Creative Something on Facebook, or subscribe by email.