This was on Creative Something in 2011

January 1st is a defining moment. On that date, four years ago, I started a small website dedicated to creativity. Today, after almost half a decade, Creative Something now stands as the leading blog for creative ideas and inspiration.

Thanks greatly in part to you.

When you read these articles and feel some sense of inspiration or motivation, then I’ve done my job. When you share anything you find on this website on Twitter or Facebook, through Google+ or email, that means you’re finding value here, which is ultimately the goal of everything I do here.

So thank you for making this all worthwhile. Come January 1st, 2012, Creative Something will officially be four years old, and I hope to continue sharing tidbits and insights of creative ideas, inspiration, wisdom, and news with you (which means, if you haven’t subscribed by email or RSS, do so now on the right column of the website).

Now, let’s look back together on some of the highlights of Creative Something during the past year, 2011.

1. The rules of a creative’s life.

Nine simple rules that help propel creatives (that means you) to success. Whether you’re an artist, a writer, a craftsperson, an entrepreneur, a student or a teacher, or anyone in-between: these rules are for you.

2. Yes! Your creativity is what the world needs.

Really, artists and creative geniuses, successful entrepreneurs, famous writers, all of the people you looked up to and still do, they are all exactly like you when it comes to creativity.

3. Why your brain is utterly creative just before sleep.

You’re just about to drift off to sleep after a long day, and your brain will not shut down. Rather than going comfortably to sleep land, your brain starts to run around and you find yourself coming up with ideas or solving problems. Why is that?

4. What is creativity, and why should I Care?

Think of everything in your life that you use regularly – the coffee maker, chairs, books, computers, phones, paper and pencils, cars – and suddenly you realize that all of these things, all of these tools and resources were created as a direct result of creativity.

5. Everything is easier once you start.

Whenever someone asks me how I was able to write a book, or become a world‒reknown designer, or start a number of companies, or work with some of the most creative people in the world, my answer is similar: I just did. And you can too.

Thank you again for reading, sharing, and being a part of this rapidly growing creative network.

I look forward to seeing you next year!

Finding creative purpose in monotony

Occasionally you have to do things you don’t want to do.

It’s a lesson that we all learn as we grow up, embrace responsibility, and undoubtedly become a part of society at large. Sometimes those things we don’t want to do can be dangerous to our creativity. Meetings stifle momentum, paid work can restrict exploration, and going to a regular day job can often dull your creative senses.

But the monotonous things we all have to participate in don’t always have to hinder our creativity. In‒fact: more often than not we can use burdening meetings or cluttered schedules or overwhelming direction from third‒parties to help fuel our creativity.

Instead of simply sitting through your next meeting, eagerly awaiting for the seconds to pass, focus intently on what’s going on in the meeting. Find a way to take something from the meeting or discussion and directly act on it in a creative manner.

Can you create a visual representation about what you learn from the meeting and then share it with those you work with? What if you sketched a drawing of the meaning you took from the conversation? Is there any way you can reflect what’s holding you down in your work? The answer to all of these questions is a certain “yes!”

The dull things we all have to go through from time‒to‒time don’t have to just be dull if you use your creativity. Find a purpose in the monotony. Give yourself a reason to create as a reaction to what you’re forced to do.

Photo by Jon Callow.

When it comes to ideas, teams win

Creative types are often jacks or janes of all trades.

When it comes to starting a new project – whether it’s a book or an artwork or a business venture – the creative individual wants to do it all on their own. You want to not only write the book, you’d prefer to edit it and design the cover yourself as well. Instead of getting feedback on your artwork while you’re making it, you prefer to reserve any outside opinion until it’s completed and ready for critique.

Unfortunately creativity is a labor meant to be shared. Most ideas require more than one mind to fully come to fruition. The more eyes you have on something, after‒all, the more you’re likely to see a problem or where there’s room for improvement.

Sure, you can try to do it all on your own, but the result will be a hundred times better if you let others help you, especially when those “others” are experts at what they do. That’s the only way to make something absolutely incredible.

This is especially valuable wisdom for a business setting. In an office where innovation and creativity thrive, convincing employees that teamwork can help build up their ideas – rather than stifle them – is critical.

Most employees are capable of doing a lot on their own, especially now days where designers are developers and copywriters are SEOs and managers are sales specialists. But when you remember that two minds are greater than one, when you understand that the experience of multiple people can only help build a well‒rounded idea, that’s when you start to exceed milestones and start reaching for the moon.

Get help when you can. The worst that could happen is somebody tells you where they think your idea could be improved. Which is always valuable insight (whether you take it, or not).

What exploding creativity means for you

Love it or hate it, 2011 was the year of the “creative” class.

There have been different classes of workers for as long as there has been time, and lately it seems that the creative class has taken the lead over all other classes of workers and producers. Anywhere you look there’s now someone who works as a creative, or incorporates creativity into their work. You’re likely one of them. even reported “creative” as the number one overused buzzword in 2011.

But what does this all mean exactly?

Whether you’re an artist or entrepreneur, a writer or teacher, a craftsperson or blogger, whether you’re a designer or an illustrator or a student or a chef, what does it mean to be creative in a world where anyone can think up new ideas? In a world where more and more people are finding their creativity every day, what’s next?

Well, I don’t know. What I do know is that this is a tremendously exciting time for anyone who dedicates themselves to creative thinking (something we are all inherently born with the capacity to do, but for a multitude of reasons lose touch with).

For the first time in hundreds of thousands of years we are now part of a society that is beginning to embrace creative thinking on a wide scale.

Can you imagine what happens when millions of people suddenly realize that they can change the world with their ideas? When everyone – and you – embraces the truth behind the statement: I can impact that world with my ideas? There is a lot of potential here. Creative is not just a popular buzzword, it’s a possible evolution of the modern world.

If one person’s idea could change the mobile phone market, if a handful of people were capable of using their ideas to create wireless networking technology, if it only took a few individuals to improve the world of art and literature and tech and business and economics, can you imagine what this new class of millions of creative thinkers can do?

We could end world hunger. Invent a way to travel through space (or time, or both). With our newly motivated brains we could turn the impossible upside down and inside out. New technologies, new health improvements, new ways to cope with diseases and debilitating issues. Discoveries that today we can’t imagine are now just around the corner.

The future for creatives is remarkably broad, and that’s exciting for all of us. This means that now, more than ever, there’s a possibility for real advancements and improvements all around the globe. The world is now opening to the realization that creativity can do tremendously powerful things, if we let it. If we’re not afraid to press forward and pursue the impossible.

And here you are, to be a part of it all. So put on your thinking cap.