As a writer, web designer and CEO, I have a serious need for creativity. It is intrinsic to everything I do. My business will not survive if I am not constantly innovating and creating new things from:
- graphic design
- artwork, buttons, banners, flash presentations
- databases (yes designing a database requires a great deal of creativity)
- designing processes
- business plans
- how to guides
Those are all activities that I will hit in a given month, sometimes a week and sometimes a day. That doesn’t even include the marketing work that I do!
Now trying to stay fresh and creative when you are creating so much, so fast, so often is not easy.
To keep my creative juices flowing during so much production these are some of the things that I do to stay fresh and keep my soul from fading.
- I read incessantly. Mostly for time reasons, I listen to audio books from Audible on my Treo.
- I watch a lot of movies and TV while I’m doing all of the activities above.
- I read and watch a lot of news.
- Traveling helps a great deal also. New landscapes, sites and new people are very important.
- I talk to people as much as possible. Working in a home office, its easy to fall out of touch with people. Fortunately technology comes to the rescue in the form of discussion boards, Skype, twitter, other blogs, calling people the old fashioned way, email and more.
- Sleep! This is very very important, and the thing that is my biggest weakness. I do not get enough sleep.
- Exercise, especially exercise in natural surroundings. I can’t get much from a gym, the cold surroundings bore me to death and I leave feeling like crap. Put me outside, jogging, hiking or doing sit-ups hanging from a tree and I’m happy. Add in some swimming or kayaking and its pure serenity.
- Don’t get into any routines. For some people this does not work, but for me if I avoid routines and keep myself out of a comfort zone that challenges my thinking and forces me to continually re-evaluate and continually improve. (Nice trick I learned at working for the Postal Service during the 90’s. 🙂 )
- Try new things all the time. Food, hobbies, software, technology, etc. The important thing here is to look for new insights from the new perspective that new things give you. If you just go bungee jump off a cliff, you’ll get a nice adrenalin rush, but if you learn nothing from the experience you have missed some of the potential.
- Learning new things all the time, follows that last one very closely. I am a habitual student, which is partly why I have a couple hundred credit hours of education. Its also why I have a resume that never ends and leaps from discipline to discipline. Plus, its why I constantly by lots of training DVD’s and take lots of non-credit technical courses all the time. I also am becoming a connoisseur of free courses. The internet provides a lot of good knowledge for free. The trick is that you have to typically create your own syllabus, then do the research to fill it in with good content!
- Lastly, accepting your vices until you can beat them. I am a coke zero junkie, never been much for coffee nor espresso machines, although I have rotated in and out of various teas. At the end of the day its water with chemicals in it. It could be worse, unfortunately its not better, but I do not stress over it. Stressing over your vices is sometimes worse than the vices themselves. Someday I’ll kick my vices or replace them with something better, but until then I accept the reality that they are there and that I could be even more flawed.