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We've taken a preliminary look at what creativity is, how we can fine-tune our thinking to develop optimal creative environments, how we can create positive, creative habits, and how to identify the hurdles we may encounter on our way. And even with all of this, you may still find yourself in the creative's most hated place The rut. But there's a simple truth about ruts. They're the offspring of inaction. If you find yourself in a rut, it is absolutely, positively due to inaction. Which means the first step in shedding any rut is to act.
But act upon what? Your first go to action should be your creative gas station list. That list we just generated in the previous chapter on input versus output. But if you need to step beyond that, let's explore some short-term, midterm and long-term rut-busting actions you can take. Short term. Bust your routine. Routine is the enemy of novelty. So, buy and wear a different type of outfit, take a different way to and from work, listen to a new album, banish your favorite fonts for a week, eat lunch with a new person everyday, thumb through a magazine you've never heard of before.
Record a new voicemail message, change up your desktop pattern, visit a new store on your way home from work, or take a random picture every day. Second, get handy. Play with Legos, do a craft, fill your work area with arts and crafts materials and use them to make something. Build something with Play-doh or draw scribbles on things and turn those scribbles into something else. Mid-term. Take a class, something you've been dying to learn, whether it's your job scope or not.
If you can't think of a subject that would assist your creative efforts, try improv training with your local comedy improv group. If online is your choice, you can find an awful lot of topics right here, on lynda.com. Develop a passion project. First, define what part of the creative process you love most. Is it design? Is it writing? Do you enjoy developing creative briefs or business plans? Once you know what part of the process you love, choose a business, colleague, friend, product or service to offer those services to in exchange for experience.
These passion projects are energizing, so keep doing what you love. Long term. Exercise. It's a scientific fact that our physical health and our creative health are uniquely tied together. If you find that you're struggling creatively and have for a while, start a new physical fitness program. If you don't workout regularly, start. If you do workout regularly, sign up for a different class or try something new. Find a mentor. One of the most mature and worthwhile steps we can take in our creative lives is to find a mentor that can help us stay objective and challenge our perceptions.
But don't forget, finding a mentor is only half the battle. Once you find a mentor, it's your responsibility to then become a mentor to someone else. Both sides are equally valuable and ultimately rewarding. Your creative growth is in your hands. Use all the tools at your disposal. And remember, creativity is an action. Go solve something.
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