Creative techniques. Isn’t that mutually exclusive? A planned procedure and creativity? For a long time, I considered creative techniques to be nothing more than a business idea for meaningless seminars that give sad company employees a few hours of diversion from their boring daily routine. But I was taught a better lesson. They really do exist: creative crutches that can get your imagination back on track.
However, it should also be noted at this point that you usually have to invest a lot of effort into your creative work – the use of a creative technique does not relieve you of this but can provide partial inspiration at least. So here are a few of my personal favorite tips for increasing creativity, apart from the usual Disney and Mind Mapping ever-greens.
First of all: Creativity arises out of relaxation – if you are tense and want to deliver something good at all costs, your small creative source usually dries up very quickly and you only think of hackneyed crap. Maybe there are exceptions, which get something meaningful conjured up in the intoxication of helplessness and under the influence of a powerful adrenalin thrust, but in my opinion the relaxation is a better basis to be able to think outside the box.
Through space and time
Creativity also needs space – spatially and, above all, temporally. Because usually the first ideas are not the best and comparatively boring. Scheme F is placed on the table and rolled out at flame cake height. It basically works but doesn’t make the creative spirit quite so happy.
The following video clearly illustrates what happens to creativity when there is a lack of time:
Okay, relaxation and time. If, as so often, there is no time, it is nevertheless helpful to try to evoke the state of relaxation.
Power of images
Also, very helpful, if not essential: Viewing pictures. In the museum or on the Internet. If I can’t think of anything at the moment, I watch images until my eyes are sore: quite a lot on the topic I’m working on or even on another topic that I’m not working on. I try to find new links – that’s how something completely new can emerge. This is a well-known technique, which is used by graphic designers, for example, in the development of logos – here, elements that fit the theme are linked together until something new is created.
The care of the inner child is also very important. I’m sure you’ve heard of that before. The inner child is not only vulnerable and very sweet, the inner child is above all snotty, totally crazy and mean. My advice for you is that you should draw from your inner child’s world as much as possible, especially from the aforementioned mean part. This leads us straight to the next point: Creativity is free. You must not immediately judge whether an idea is good or not. You don’t know that yet. As soon as you feel something about an idea and develop a vision, that’s a good sign – now you have to flesh it out and convince others of it. The set budget stands in your way? Every idea contains a basic core that can be realized more cheaply.
Root canal treatment
I once worked on a film script and somehow didn’t get beyond the basic idea. The reason was that in principle I didn’t know what I wanted to tell. In order to find out again or at all, I just started writing freely about the main character of the film: Who is this character, what does he or she want and what is one of his/her most important internal and external conflict? I was really impressed how well it worked.
So, if you can’t get any further, it might be because you don’t know what it’s all about anymore. You have 100 requirements and expectations in your head and have lost the basic essence. In this case it always helps to sit down and write down everything you can think of. Again, please do not judge. Keep on writing; write gibberish if you don’t know what to do – until you feel that you have reached the root of your story.
Last but not least: Just do it! Have confidence in yourself. There is no wrong and right. Take a look at the many artists out there – everyone has developed their own way. You just have to keep on working on an idea regularly, over and over again, until the whole thing is conclusive. This requires confidence – one of the most important ingredients for creative work.
This may not be for the office, but I’m serious. The Brontë sisters have already used this technique to create their masterpieces such as “Jane Eyre” or “Wuthering Heights”. They always walked up and down the room. Thoughts are stimulated by movement – relatively similar movements through a room can easily put you in a trance, bypass your evaluative thinking and surrender to the dynamics of your story. It is also important to write down your new thoughts afterwards.
All mentioned approaches have helped me a lot to get my creativity off the ground. How to stimulate yourself best, of course, you have to find out for yourself. Fortunately, there is no technique that gives you the ultimate cash cow idea (it’s all about money, isn’t it?) without much to do – otherwise good ideas wouldn’t be anything special anymore.
And, what are you doing to beam yourself into the realm of good ideas? I am looking forward to your comments. May they be plentiful.
Zarah Ziadi, mmpro editorial office