5 Ways To Execute Creative Mediocrity
I vacuumed the floor today to avoid writing this article.
See, I think all people can be creative. But not everyone is willing to put in the hard work it takes. That’s why I pushed around the ‘ole dirt sucker for a bit. I wasn’t ready for that kind of effort.
Over the years, I’ve learned that producing great work is supposed to be tough. It’s supposed to take something out of you…because you’re putting a piece of yourself into it. I haven’t always known that, though. So, inevitably, I’ve also learned how not to be creative, too.
And to save you some of that pain, I humbly suggest you leave this stuff behind in your pursuit of creative greatness:
1. ALWAYS GO WITH YOUR FIRST IDEA.
What I’ve learned about that first idea – it’s either half-baked or too familiar. Instead, push at it from several different directions and don’t stop before you’ve even started. This is a hard one if you’re on deadline. But when the right idea comes, it’ll finish a lot more smoothly than one you’re forcing.
2. SAY THINGS LIKE, “WE’RE MAKING THIS TOO HARD.”
It never fails. When I create with a group of people, this phrase typically floats out about half-way through the process. They start to piss and moan about how hard it is to think through a problem to get to a solution. And, usually it throws the last half-hour’s worth of work down the toilet. If this is you – if you say this, please stop. Because if the problem is important enough to address in the first place, it deserves time and space to breathe, and so do the people who are committed to solving it.
3. LISTEN TO EVERYONE’S FEEDBACK.
This one is super tough for me. Early on, I wanted everyone to like my work. If you didn’t, I wouldn’t hesitate to go back and change it to make you happy. But, what I was producing was so diluted. It was a hodgepodge of bullshit. Your aim should be work that creates a reaction: Love it or hate it. But not: Take it or leave it.
4. GIVE AWAY YOUR IDEAS.
There’s nothing wrong with being generous. But, when someone asks for your help, gauge their commitment to seeing it through to the end. This is something we call matching efforts at DO:BETTER. Invest in people, but know if they’re not equally invested, you’ll be disappointed, or worse, you’ll end up hurt and frustrated. Because that great idea, it will never have been as good as you first imagined it.
5. STAY SURFACE.
The really great ideas are great because the people who came up with them took a chance and were vulnerable. They allowed you to see them through their work. Scary, right? But that’s how you create emotion, by giving into your own. If you never allow anyone to see the real you, how will your work be different than anyone else’s? What will come of the contribution that only you can make to the world?
Sometimes people say things like, “I wish I was creative," or “You’re so lucky your brain works that way." Listen, luck is for losers. Everyone can be creative, but not all people can produce to the same level. You've gotta push yourself. And, you've gotta want it. Every time.
Betcha liked this? Prove it.