Creative Thinking Tuesday, 25th November 2014

In previous posts in this little series I’ve thought about tools and inspiration. I think that these are pretty important, and I love it when I come across new sources of both. I think that there is something really great about finding things that support creativity and creative thinking – but at the same time, I think it’s also really useful to look at what things might hinder creative thinking. No sense in putting your foot down on the accelerator while the brake is on!

What’s Stopping You?

Sometimes I suppose it could be the opposite of the things that I’ve talked about in previous posts:

  • You lack the tools or materials to be creative in the way that you want to be;
  • There is something in the environment that gets in the way – a messy desk, a noisy colleague, etc;
  • You don’t have enough sources of inspiration to get your mind going;
  • You feel like you need a way or process to be creative, and that’s missing.

Are some of these points the reason why you can’t get creative, why you can’t think of new ideas or develop them when you do have them? Are these reasons or are they limiting excuses?

Being Honest

I’ve had all of those as reasons in my head before, stock answers to the question “Why can’t I get a good idea for this problem?” They’re easy to trot out for me, and there is probably some truthfulness to some of them at certain times. However, on reflection, I have seen some times when I’ve been lacking for none of these things, or only mildly hindered, and yet I still tell myself “I can’t do it!” On those occasions, it’s not about resources, environments, inspirations or processes: it’s about fear.

What if it doesn’t work?

What if no-one likes it?

What if I’m judged?

What if it has a negative impact?

What if it’s crap?

And in a weird way, especially with writing and sharing that writing, a question that silently pops into my head: “What if it’s a success?” What if something does matter to people? If it matters then maybe it’s something that needs to be continued or taken further. Or perhaps it has some purpose.

What would you do…?

If something were successful, what would you do with it? And, perhaps, more importantly, what would you do next? Daydreaming is fun, and worrying about what ifs has a place, but maybe if we – or I – don’t worry about what other people think, and just get on with the business of doing things, of being creative… Well, maybe we’d find that those things we think are problems aren’t, and we can get on with the difficult business of doing creative work. Like research!

(perhaps it is easier to be busy working on removing hinderances, and busy working on being afraid, rather than it is to be working hard and creatively in spite of both…?)

Has anything in this post struck a chord with you? Or have I got it all wrong? What stops you being creative? It would be great to hear from you, so if you want to, leave some thoughts in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

PS – please take a look at my Patreon campaign for the Viva Survivors Podcast!

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