I’m at National Worship Leader Conference this week, and like a lot of conferences I’m at, there’s something I notice everywhere I go to speak and teach… a desire to grow, learn and become a better technician, visual leader, multi-screen guru, etc. [You can insert whatever specific topic you want, but you get the point].

In essence we all (at some level) want to be more creative.

We all want to design better, lead better, produce better, VJ better or craft an experience in a better way…. and it almost always comes  back to the point of being creative. So I’ve put a few thoughts together on tangible ways to become more creative.

 

1. Little Details Matter.

Pay attention to the little details… and make sure they’re as “intentional” as the bigger details. I grew up as a designer, so I am still a student of it in many ways. I appreciate great design. One of the things that I find makes the difference between a good piece and a great piece is the attention to all the little details. It’s in the tiny details where the seperation of true creativity and a great idea exist.

Look at Google, and how they (almost daily) have a new logo that has a subtle creative element that highlights a major cultural event. It’s a small detail… but it matters. Look at Makoto Fujimura‘s art. He uses the most intricate and subtle textures that bring life to his art.

If you have a longing to become more creative, try paying attention to the little details more and allowing the intentionality of the subtleties rise  up in your creative execution.

 

2. Create While In The Desert.

It’s easy to create something when in creative environments. It’s easy to create when you seem to be immersed in inspiration. The question is, are you able to create when everything seems dark, dry and dead?

One of the best ways to become more creative is to make sure you create in those dry, desert seasons. Just go and create! It will do wonders in forcing you to not let your creativity be solely based on the ability for you to have inspiration surround you. You’ll become an independent, self-sufficent, better creative when you can create in the desert.

I’ve written before that creativity is a muscle, and part of this process is “working out that muscle”.

 

3. Seek Out Atmosphere.

I’ve met those cynics who don’t believe atmosphere can make a difference, but they’re wrong. Atmosphere is everything! It’s where creatives find inspiration. I used to think spacial design was just the cherry on top of a room/environment… however when we moved into our first office I experienced the power and creative freedom of spacial design.

We worked for 2-3 weeks before we painted our office and cleaned up some of the window treatments. Originally the walls were a pale (I called it ‘puke’) green color. Creativity suffered. Though I didn’t know it at the time.

We cleaned up the walls, removed the outlets (like phone jacks, holes, old picture frames, etc), sanded down the trim work, added wooden blinds and repainted the entire office a grey with white trim & orange accents everywhere. The most amazing thing happened, I found myself wanting to create again. Ultimately it’s what inspired the Particle Pack, Light Pack and Abstract Pack (which was designed all after the re-design).

You may not have your own office to redesign fully, but if you want to be more creative, find places in your area/city that have a unique and inviting atmosphere… and change it up! Don’t wake up and go to the same place everyday… unless it’s your perfect space of creativity. Get out. Sometimes a change in scenery can expose you to new ideas, stimulate different senses and help you become a better artist.

 

4. Establish Boundaries.

Creatives suck at boundaries, however boundaries force creativity. I use the phrase force very strategically. When I was in college, I was asked to be a part of the student leadership team that crafted, planned and executed the entire orientation program for the university. It was a great experience, however the senior leadership at the school (much higher than the supervisors in the student divisions dept) didn’t increase the budget over the years as our student body increased dramatically. However the university around the corner (many in which consider to be an ivy league school) had an “unlimited” budget. Our orientation year, the other school brought in Dave Matthews during their orientation program.

However our budget (or lack thereof) was a boundary that forced us to create programming that fostered relationships. And we won a ton of awards for it that year with the NASPA.

When I don’t have a boundary, I am not forced to be creative. I just vomit out ideas.
It you can setup parameters for a project you’ll find you HAVE to be more creative in the process
and you’ll be better off in the process.

 

5. Hang Out with More Creatives.

Lastly, the one thing that will take the most time investment but can have the greatest reward is spending more time with creatives you know. Don’t know any? Meet some… check them out on twitter, take them to lunch and just seek to absorb their practices of being creative.

I find there are those people in my life that add life to my life. We all need them… we all need to be around people that are going to push us, and we need those in our life where we can help teach, train and equip in being more creative. If that happens, then this process can work.

When you hang out with creative people, you soak up their creative aroma!