Creative Techniques: The Boring Way To Creative Success

Ok, an odd title. Creativity is the birthplace of excitement, right? New ideas. Neurons firing. Light bulbs popping.

I agree, but what comes next? Sadly, it’s the less exciting world of work.

I was once employed as a comedy writer on a very successful capital city breakfast radio show. I was brought in (with another writer) to replace 2 comedians who weren’t cutting it (one went on to become a famous TV personality). Their work was great, but they couldn’t sustain it. They were focused on the Eureka moments, but didn’t see the importance of the boring stuff. However, for sustained success in a competitive environment (and brekky radio is highly competitive and demands constant creativity), you have to do the hard yards as well. It’s sometimes dull, but it actually makes you a better, more effective creative thinker.


So here are my top tips for boring creative success.

1. Be prepared to plod. Once that Eureka moment has passed, there’s still a lot of work to do to get your idea up and running. The Mona Lisa wasn’t slapped onto canvas over a glass of vino on a Tuesday morning. Leonardo Da Vinci laboured for four years to create his masterpiece. You have to be disciplined. Be prepared to work hard, and long. Set yourself specific work times if you need to, but toughen up and keep at it.

“Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win”.  Bobby Knight

2. Shift focus, but stay focused. I’ve written several times on the need to understand what you’re trying to achieve, and remain on task. This does not mean you should think of nothing but red widgets while you’re trying to invent a red widget. Often you have to step away from a problem. Take a break; think about something else for a while. That’s when Eureka moments happen. But be careful not to get completely distracted. If you’re designing a new artwork, it’s cool to take a break and chat to a mate about BBQ’s. Who knows, you might be inspired to work in charcoal. However, it’s not much use if 2 weeks later you find yourself building a new 6 burner, but no artwork in sight.

3. And finally, filing. Boring, boring, boring. But if you’re in the business of constantly coming up with ideas, you’re probably also regularly dumping good ideas that aren’t right, right now. Don’t. Write them down and file them away. Not on a piece of paper napkin in the bottom of the sock drawer. These days we have things called computers (oh look, you’re using one now). File properly. Cross reference. Tag properly. Make sure you can access your ideas easily, all the time. There are so many great concepts lost because their creators haven’t stored them away.

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