On Being Creative

This week, I traveled to LA to speak on a panel with Sonia Simone and Peter Shankman (pictured above) at the BlueGlass internet marketing conference. Our session was on the future of public relations – you can read a summary here.

I wanted to bring up one part of our discussion that was particularly interesting and something I’ve been thinking about lately. We got on the subject of creativity as an audience member asked the question how to consistently come up with creative ideas. Peter and Sonia responded with some good tips on how to come up with something creative, fast.

For example, Peter noted to do something active / get exercise in order to get ideas flowing. I think this is great advice, in fact it was one of the ideas I wrote down in a post on how to overcome writer’s block.

But I’ve been thinking about this further and while this type of activity might help for someone who is already creative, I am not sure this would actually help someone who isn’t creative in the first place as they’ve never developed that part of themselves.

After all, if we are the sum of our experiences and you don’t nurture an existence that is unique and creative (i.e., if you spend all your time watching TV, blindly following rules all day or being closed off to new experiences) you’re not really positioned to make anything different because you’re not primed for it. Even if you give your brain optimal conditions by being healthy or getting your blood moving through exercise.

It’s up to us to live a life conducive of creativity to the point our experiences produce it as an organic output. And in a world where we’re giving rise to the creative class, it’s one of the most valuable things you can do.