By 2020, 5 million jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence in the USA*.It might sound like a verdict, but it’s a fact. And it’s only 2 years from now. Creativity is probably the one and only weapon we still have and the thing that would make a man irreplaceable - at least on the short term - having their unique voice, point of view and character. For us, people in creative industries, having a set of strategies how to stay creative - from igniting creativity to unblocking when in a creative jolt - has always been part of the the job. In the digital age where originality is overrated or almost impossible, it’s harder than ever for artists to discover, express and sustain their creative voice.
There are no hard and fast rules how to be creative. David Lynch says that ideas come from a mystical space where all creativity is sourced - one just needs to learn how to reach it. “Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure.They’re huge and abstract. And they’re very beautiful.”*
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Many famous artists and writers have defined creativity and how to follow get into the habit of using it daily. Most of them speak about daily creative routine, applying a set of repetitive exercises and practices, since creativity is a muscle - it has to be stretched, trained and worked out. Here we will share our personal favourites from all the practices we have tried through the years; please feel free to add, comment and share yours.
1. Ask questions
It’s a proven fact that kids are natural born creatives. Why? Because they ask questions all the time. They question everything and they find unexpected perspectives on subjects we take for granted. In the creative process, one of the most useful advices I’ve gotten, was to forget what I already know - and ask a lot of questions.
The more information you got on the brief, the better the chance to get an idea for something. Question everything you are told, too. Sometimes the best ideas come as a provocation of some old cliche that we need to reinvent. New perspectives bring new approaches.
2. Collect your ideas - write or record everything down
Cultivating the habit to collect your ideas is the first and most important step in setting a creative routine. Dedicate daily time to sit and write down/ sketch your ideas - it may be in a journal, a sketchbook if you are a visual person, a blog or other medium. There is a theory that says one should do that right after waking up - this is called free writing; you can try setting up another time slot in your calendar or simply having a notebook on you anywhere you go. I got this amazing idea and I said to myself I’m gonna write it down as I get home, and then suddenly I lost it. Sounds familiar? Yes, that’s why.
3. Remix, combine, reuse
Know and build on the classics. It is mandatory to admit that art is derivative. All creative work builds on what came before. Similarly, most of the work we do is subconsciously using something we’ve previously seen, read or heard. Make this a conscious act - learn how to combine artistic styles, genres, influences, etc. - and produce something new out of it. Remixing is a form of art itself: it’s creating something new from something old, adding up value, reinventing, rediscovering and building upon it. Remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to."
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4. Think big
Sometimes we stop ourselves from making something because we think we it’s “too stupid”, “too loud”, “too much off the budget”, or whatever. That is the greatest blocker of all. In my creative agency we had a rule - it was prohibited to say NO during a brainstorming. It’s a fragile, electric process; ideas - just like people- are sensitive, too. One can chase them away. The best thing to do is dedicate an hour or two for a brainstorming session: sit down and generate at least 10 ideas. Dont judge them. Give them the space to be. Produce a mass, sleep over the night and then cut off.
5. Read & watch stuff outside your industry
Read science, daily press, the news, biographies, fiction, poetry. Read. Good. Literature! This is the advice I’ve heard the greatest of times from my mentors, and it is, by all means, the most useful one. Good literature, good movies, good art - these are the basis of inspiration for every artist on the planet. WE all have started our creative path copying someone we admire. Fake it till you make it.
JIM JARMUCSH QUOTE: