A couple of decades back, I helped a large company develop and launch a course on creativity and innovation. Our classes ran about 24 people, and in the first session, we asked for a show of hands of the people who were creative. Usually, we got two or three hands. Sometimes, we didn’t get any. For whatever reason, most people don’t seem to think they’re creative.
Well, I’ve got something to tell you. It’s not exactly a secret, but kind of a well-hidden truth. People are naturally creative. We all, including you, come up with ideas all day long. That’s what creativity is about.
If writing is part of what you do, you need as many good ideas as you can get. You need ideas about content and ideas about structure. You need ideas about what words to use, what stories to tell, and how to explain things. Here are three things you can do to increase your creative output.
The Big Secret
Just like the idea that human beings are creative, this one is not so much a secret as a truth hidden in plain sight. The people that we call creative are most often people who capture their ideas.
Human beings get ideas all day long. What separates the “creative” people from the rest of us is that creative people capture ideas. Some use a notebook. Others use index cards. Some, like me, use a small digital recorder. Whatever you do, capture your idea.
Don’t wait. Capture that idea right away. Otherwise, it will flit away like a butterfly on the wind.
Where Do You Get Most of Your Good Ideas?
In one sense, ideas are like kisses. Where are you most likely to get your next kiss? Will you get it by going out on the street and trying to get a kiss from the first person you talk to? Or are you most likely to get a kiss from the last place you got a kiss?
Do you get your ideas in a favorite chair? Maybe you get good ideas when you’re working in the yard. Maybe you get your best ideas when you’re driving. Whatever it is, when you’re in need of a good idea, go to the place where you got your last good idea.
Understand When Most People Get Good Ideas
Think about the situations when you get good ideas. Most of us get our good ideas in the same general way.
Usually, we’ve been working on a problem or a project for a while. We put the project aside and go on to something else.
That “something else” has some of the characteristics of taking a shower. Everyone who’s taken a shower has had a good idea. And, just about everyone who drives, or does housework, or goes for a walk has had a good idea.
Those situations have a few things in common. The body is on autopilot. You don’t have to think about what you’re doing. That leaves your mind free to roam. Suddenly, an idea jumps into your consciousness. Better capture it quick.
People, including you, are naturally creative.
Capture ideas when you get them.
Learn when you get your good ideas.
Understand when most people get good ideas.