How do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh and original? More importantly, how do you stay fresh and original when you're just not feeling motivated? Today we discuss how the creative process works generally, and our tips and techniques to keep those creative juices flowing, no matter what your mood!
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Pamela: Hey, everybody, I’m Pamela.
Tracy: And I'm Tracy
Pamela: And we are here to discuss How Business Really Works.
Tracy: Our topic today is The Creative Process.
Now you might think well that has to do with artists. What does that have to do with business? But the thing is, every aspect of business is creative, whether you’re problem solving and got come up with different solutions, you're designing a new product. But today, really one of the most important things is we have to create content for marketing. So writing, video, audio, all of it requires creativity.
Pamela: And you're not only creating your content you are creating value and there's a certain thought process that goes into creating value for your customers or your target audience as well. so all of these things come together to make an overall creative process that sometimes people get stuck in so we're going to talk about ways you can go through the creative process and have it work for you.
[Time - 1:08]
Tracy: I think one of the biggest problems people have with the creative processes they got the end result in mind and instead of just like brainstorming and get everything out there they try to create a perfect end product in the beginning. And that’s not how the creative process works.
Pamela: So let me just clarify, we do want you to know where you're going. So we talked about this in other videos. I’ll link to that other video. You do have to have a vision in your mind of where you want to end up. Whether that's your perfect life in five years, like we spoke about in the productivity video, or whether you're creating a product you do want to know and have a really good sense of what that product is going to do obviously.
But to Tracy’s point, you can't begin with that perfect product already out of your brain that just doesn’t work that way.
The creative process is more messy and iterative and that's what you have to focus on is getting those ideas out of your head, to begin with.
Tracy: Yeah basically creating and editing are two different skill sets.
[Time – 2:02]
So you take an author that’s writing a book. Now they might want to end up with like a - I don't know -10,000-word little how-to book. The honest truth is, they are probably going to write 20 or 30,000 words and the editing process is what creates the final product.
So let's talk a little bit about tricks and tools that we use to get it out there in the first place. So what are some of yours?
Pamela: Well, the one big thing is that you get all of your ideas down on paper. Either you know, on your laptop if you like typing better or physical paper if you prefer a physical entity in front of you.
So I wrote a book last year and the way I did it was to gather all my research and printed out on physical paper. So I did kind of the old school way. I marked up that paper with points that I wanted to include in my book, cross references to other research that I had also printed out.
So I had on paper everything in front of me, all my notes and everything that really made out the backbone of the book.
And I got all my ideas out when I started typing. But I didn't start typing the end product. I started typing points that I want to make, whether it was in the middle of the book or whether it was at the end or in the beginning. Whatever was most in my mind at that point in time and I felt that I had researched the best, that's where I would start and just kind of blurted it all out.
And that really helped me to get not only my main points out but to discover things that I kind of had forgotten that I knew or maybe new ideas that I just thought about. The point is you want to just get it out of your head without worrying about what it looks like or what it sounds like.
Don’t judge your work. And I know this from acting and this is a lesson in acting that's been pounded into my head from five years now of training in acting. You do the work and you try not to judge the work.
[Time – 4:00]
Meaning you follow a technique and that technique will lead you where you need to go if you trust it and you trust yourself you don't need to be judging yourself along the way.
Tracy: Yeah, and like for me, a lot of times it’s to get the ideas out of my head, right? Well, I can't type as fast as my brain can move. And I found that when I was a front of the computer and I would try to get it all out, I would have been a jumbled mess. So I learned to use the recorder. Whether it’s on my phone or whether I pull out the video recorder or whatever. I immediately just get out there. I mean it's like a vomit. I just put it all out there.
And so I will start out a lot of times with something that’s auditory. It's a recording. From that, I will figure out what research I need to do to backup. And I’ll do the research and then, I actually start the writing process. So for me, it's a brain dump. It's I have to get all that stuff out of my head.
Pamela: And I think you'll find that the more you allow yourself to just get stuff out of your head and onto paper or into a recording, your brain starts working in the background anyway and it becomes easier to get those thoughts out and it becomes easier to organize those thoughts the longer you go.
Remember the goal is not to organize your thoughts in the beginning. But your brain kind of works that way anyway. That's the natural human process. So it'll start, you'll start seeing patterns in your work as long as you let yourself just get it all out of your head.
So I think that's step number one is, don't judge. Just put it out there and then you can work with what you've got.
Tracy: And I find that when I first started writing courses after I've done the research and gotten creative ideas out of my head. I find that if I get really bogged down into like perfect grammar or perfect spelling, perfect this or perfect that, I lose the flow.
So a lot of times I write like, I don't know the most uneducated human being on the face of the earth. But it’s just kind of part of the creative processes. It’s “get that stuff out of there”. You can always edit.
Pamela: Yes, you know they say again in acting, the editor makes the performance not the actor and it really true. If you watched any of your favorite movies or TV shows pay attention to how they edit the scenes. How they put them together, where they cut from one character to another, a lot of creating the story is in the editing. It's also in the acting of course, but a lot of it ends up with the editing, much to my dismay sometimes. But you know can’t have everything we want.
Tracy: That’s true, yeah well you know, it's like I said you can't wait for inspiration.
Pamela: Yeah. Yeah.
Tracy: If you wait for inspiration you might never be creative. So what do you do? What are some of your tips and tricks you use when “I’m just not in the mood today”, but it needs to be done?
[Tine – 6:58]
Pamela: So, two thoughts come to mind. First of all, if you're not in the mood but it needs to be done, you got to do it anyway. I mean that's really kind of an oversimplification maybe. Because you've got all these feelings going through your head and “oh I just don't feel well”, you know, my head is stopped up or I didn't get enough sleep.
Really it does come down to you have to make a choice if you're going to do it or not. So it comes down to your personal choice in that moment to do the work anyway and you may find, you probably will find, that once you kind of get over that initial hump of “I don't feel good, I don't wanna”, it will get easier as you go.
So that's number one, is sometimes you have to do it anyway. You just have to make the choice.
The inspiration, though, you ask me about inspiration, so I'm assuming you mean like where do I get ideas that I can pull from for my work.
Tracy: Yeah so that when you're not in a creative mood, how do you deal with that?
[Time – 7:55]
Pamela: Okay, I have a great example for you of this. So I have been a dancer as well and one thing that I used to do is a dancer between lessons and workshops and everything is, when I was out walking around in the city or traveling or whatever, I would really pay attention to my environment. So for instance, if I was walking down the street in New York City, I listened to the cars going by and the chatter of people in the sound of feet.
And I listened to rhythms that were in those noises but you might not pay attention to if you're not thinking about those. Your natural environment or even an office environment could have things going on in there that make you connect that to your work.
So in my example of dancing, I do swing dancing, if there was a certain rhythm, two cars going over a pothole or something, I would incorporate that rhythm that I've heard into my dancing. And it just made my dancing fresh and new and creative, because I'm taking something from my environment and I'm putting it into my work. And I really highly suggest that go out and take a walk. Go, I don't know, listen to a talk anything really that connects you to your surroundings. And take something from your surroundings, take the color of a flower that you love and use that in your work if you do visual arts.
[Time – 9:15]
Tracy: And just like Pamela's finding inspiration throughout her environment, one of the most important things you can do for creativity is, make sure you do it on a regular basis. Just like you're not going to beat cardiovascular disease by running once a month, you’re not going to keep the creative process flowing unless you're doing it on regular basis.
It’s one of James Altucher’s ideas. It’s what he calls, like you know, becoming an idea machine. That creating - is 10 ideas a day that he does?
Pamela: Yeah, he writes down 10 ideas a day.
Tracy: Every morning he gets up and he just writes 10 ideas. It doesn't have to be about anything I'm doing. You might look out the window and oh 10 ideas.
Pamela: Well, actually his process is a little more structure than that. It’s he will pick something that he wants to improve, 10 ideas to improve his podcast, 10 ideas to improve somebody else's podcast. You know that kind of thing.
So he doesn't just come up with ten random ideas but he picks a theme or a topic and then he comes up with ways to make that thing or topic better. They are related to each other they're not random.
Tracy: They are. There is a theme for the day but it could be a literally on anything.
Pamela: Yes, that's true.
Tracy: He might be in store and he sees something that he thinks could be improved and he will come up with 10 ideas to improve it.
It’s kind of a like; I was traveling out west this past winter. I went to Colorado and visited some friends. And this friend was kind of making side money. His side hustle is crawling up on the roof and removing snow. And I’m watching him do this. I thinking, this is the most insane thing I've ever seen. These people risking their lives, they're doing all these harnesses and everything, but still, it takes forever. And I'm like; I can't believe no one has automated snow removal from a roof yet. We've got machines that can you know, rove Mars. Why can't we remove snow from the roof?
[Time – 11:07]
So I decided the next morning when I got up, my 10 ideas were going to be on how to automate the removal of snow. And I actually came up with about fifteen ideas. This is not something I would never pursue. I handed off to a friend who has some mechanical ability and he is actually working on an automated machine that will remove snow from a roof. We'll see if it goes anywhere!
But, you know, that's just it. It didn't benefit me other that it kept my idea muscle working but maybe it's going to benefit someone else. Maybe sometimes in the future, we won’t have people on roofs for snow removal. I might have bettered the world, you never know.
Pamela: And with this with this exercise of coming up with 10 ideas per day, the same principle as the creative process applies and that you don't judge the ideas. You just write them down and almost the whole point of this exercise is that most of them are going to be crap ideas and that's okay and you have to be okay with that coming out of your head.
[Time – 12:08]
This is just an exercise to get you used to creating and coming up with new ideas and making new connections. So it doesn't really matter the quality of the ideas. You may come up with some brilliant ones out of these. There’s no telling what you'll come up with but you don't judge the work. You just come up with the ideas, get them out of your head and keep creating those new ideas to keep your creative muscle exercised.
Tracy: Yeah, well it’s like James says, if you write 10 ideas a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year. What’s that, a thousand six hundred and something? He says you might have one million-dollar idea in all that.
The idea is not to come up with some earth-shattering idea. The idea is to exercise your creativity.
And of course, I guess we should recommend James’ book called, Become an Idea Muscle.
Pamela: Become an Idea Machine
Tracy: Become an Idea Machine, Exercising your Idea Muscle.
Pamela: Yeah, by James Altucher. We’ll put the links about that in the description.
Tracy: And there are a couple of other really good books on the creative process itself. One is by Twyla Tharp called, - what did you call that book?
Tracy: Yeah and there is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I highly recommend that.
Pamela: That's a great book. And then there's The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.
Tracy: Yeah, and you’ll put a link to all those in the show notes?
Pamela: Yes, I will link you to all of these. They will be invaluable resources to helping you out in defining your creative process and making it work for you.
And these links will be affiliate links, full transparency there. If you use our links great, that will help us out. If you don't totally fine and just go find these books on your own if you want but we will at least put the resources in the description for you.
I highly, highly recommend that you go get these books.
[Time – 13:55]
So now you have ways to get inspiration to come up with new ideas to keep your creative juices flowing every day of the year.
Now it's time for you to put that all into action so we want to hear what your thoughts are. Did you find this video useful? Are you going to take the ideas and lessons that we’ve given to you and use them for your own work?
Tell us what you're working on. Tell us how you apply the idea machine or any other technique that we’ve mentioned and if you are finding inspiration in your environment too.
So don't forget to comment and like this video, subscribe to the channel, keep in touch with us, let us know what you're doing and we will see you on the next one.
Thank you, bye.