Sometimes an idea enters your mind fully formed and without effort. Sometimes you will be able to conceive the end result during the research or generation stage of the process. Sometimes all the incubation in the world doesn’t lead to a great idea. Sometimes the pieces all fit together only when you begin the execution. The value of following a 5 step process is that it will lead to a satisfactory result even when the eureka moment never happens. When it does, you are experiencing a true gift.

Creative Environment

For me, the most important condition for a creative breakthrough is the right environment. I like a space that is free of clutter. Reminders of chores and other distractions must be out of sight. The ringer on the phone is off. The creative process itself can become messy and disorganized, but I like to start with order.


Copy the Masters

If you want to paint like Van Gogh, copy one of his paintings brushstroke for brushstroke. If you want to improvise like Charlie Parker, transcribe one of his solos note for note. Copying seems like the opposite of creativity, but this exercise will give you insight into the mind of a genius that you can use in your own work. Imitation is not unethical unless you try to pass your work off as someone else’s, that is, you commit plagiarism or forgery. Most likely, your own self will shine through whatever you do.READ MORE

Japanese Tea Ceremony

For a mental break and a return to clarity, create your own ritual based on the Japanese Tea Ceremony. It requires little equipment or time. You can modify the procedure to suit your style. The important thing is to have a way to return to a calm center when you are feeling stressed and out of control.READ MORE


You were born creative. Humans are, by nature, creative beings.

Maybe in third grade you thought your picture didn’t look as good as the “talented” girl’s. Maybe in the high school jazz combo you never got the hang of improvising a solo. Maybe in your office culture, offering an unusual suggestion is ridiculed. Maybe your job requires you to be creative every day, and after many years your well has run dry.READ MORE

Creativity Killers

  • Stress: Although some of us work best under pressure, constant low-level stress will suck away your creative juice.
  • Comfort: Staying in your comfort zone will not yield creative results.
  • Criticism: Criticism that drags you down will eventually break your spirit. You are better off in the long run getting away from a client who micromanages your work, or who dwells in the negative, or who tries to make you feel incompetent. However, constructive feedback is essential if you are trying to make a living as a creative professional. The best clients will know how to deliver criticism in a positive way that makes the end result even better. Most of the time, the best answer to criticism is: do better work.READ MORE

Creativity Triggers

Need to jumpstart the creative process? Here are some ways to spark your imagination:

  • Synthesis: add something. Introduce a new element, either similar or completely different.
  • Subtraction: take something away. Make it simpler, purer. Reduce it to the bare essence.
  • Connection: make connections from your subject to other subjects. Keep moving outward until you find a connection that no one has made before.READ MORE

Why be creative?

Creative thinking can:

  • overcome obstacles
  • resolve conflict
  • give you a competitive advantage at work
  • encourage personal growth
  • brighten your outlook
  • make life interesting
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