Creativity Day 1/3

It’s crowded in here. This world of solopreneurs and dreamers wanting to make their mark. This world of Etsy shops and pop up’s and influencers and highlight reels. It can get loud. It can get intimidating. It can make a person doubt themselves at every turn.

From my own personal experience, when I doubt myself, I tend to do the worst thing possible. I look at other businesses who are more successful than me to see what I can do to imitate them so I can be successful too. Have you ever done that? Instead of relying on your own creative strength, you peek over the fence to her price list or his website to compare and borrow and you end up with something you’re not even happy with because it just doesn’t look like theirs does. Or it doesn’t work for you like it seems to be working for them.

So for the next three days, we’re going to be talking about creativity. Welcome to day one! Take a seat! Grab some coffee!

The most important thing I’ve learned about creativity is the following:

Creativity is like energy. The more you use, the more you have.

I used to get a great idea and I would write it down in a notebook and decide that I wasn’t “Big enough” to actually execute it. I’d think “I only have 500 followers, I have to wait until I have more to do a giveaway like this.” or “This idea is too good to be wasted on me right now. I’ll wait until I’m wildly successful and then I’ll do it.” When in reality, I wasn’t growing because I wasn’t doing those big things.

Creativity can also be likened to a muscle. Have you ever thought, “I don’t want to work out because I want to save my strength.”? That’s not at all how it works, is it? When you lift weights, you’re not depleting a limited bank of strength, you’re building up your ability to lift heavy things without struggle.

If I had picked an idea from my notebook and gone with it, I would have built up creative energy from the process which would have led to more great ideas…. which leads me to the second most important thing I’ve learned about creativity:

One thing always leads to another.

About a year ago I photographed some wedding invitation suites for a local designer. A few of the suites had custom watercolor paintings of the venues. One was in the liner of the envelope and the other was in the form of a little map that showed the ceremony site, reception venue and a few surrounding landmarks. I thought it was beautiful. A few months later, I had the idea to hire an artist to create a map of the downtown area of the town I live in. The people who live here have a lot of town pride and I thought it would do well in my Etsy shop. I produced the map with the artist and it’s now my best seller in my shop. Who would have thought that wedding photography would have led me to that? We can pull that thread back to finding photography in the first place. Or meeting that friend for lunch who suggested that group that led to me meeting the designer in the first place. These things happen ALL the time but in order for them to be beneficial to us, we have to have our eyes open.

Become an observer. Imagine you’re following breadcrumbs, watching for little red arrows from the universe to point you in the right direction. When you meet someone new, find out what they need or what their audience needs and then see if it fits together with what you need or what your audience needs.

Raffi and I watch a lot of Shark Tank at home and if you watch that show, you’ll notice that nearly every person who comes on was someone who had their eyes opened and followed those breadcrumbs.

“I was out hiking with my dog and realized I didn’t bring any food with me so invented this on the go power bar for dogs.”

“I worked at a nursery for 30 years and the potting soil they use isn’t environmentally friendly or economical so I invented a soil that is both.”

“We live in Kansas and we were sick of boarding up our windows for tornadoes so I invented this window pane that is ten times more reliable than plywood.”

•Creativity is like energy.
•One thing leads to another.
•Eyes open.

To end day one, I wanted to give you three exercises to start to develop these thought patterns. You can use these ones, modify them, or create your own, but keep your creative brain active!

1. Imagine a business came to you and said, “We’re in danger of closing and we need a brand new idea to save us.” What would you come up with for a bank? For a grocery store? For a furniture store? For a restaurant? Write down and develop those ideas a little bit … one of them might end up translating into something amazing for your own business!

2. Write a third person perspective story from your life and make it as descriptive as possible. (If you do this and send me yours, I’ll send you one of mine!) It doesn’t have to be of an exciting life event. It can just be a description of what part of the day you look forward to the most, how your child plays and what his room looks like, or the little things your spouse does to let you know they love you. Anything that wakes your heart up that you want to remember and hold on to as time passes.

3. Keep a running log of all those weird thoughts and ideas that pop up during the day. It can be book ideas, movie ideas, blog ideas, ideas for a niche Twitter account, design ideas, anything that starts with “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” (I recently went to an event that called this “Unicorn Brainstorming.”) Instead of a Dream Journal, this is a DAYdream Journal. 😉

I’d love to know your thoughts on this one and thank you for being here for day 1/3 on creativity! I’ll see you tomorrow!

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

Click here for day 2!
Click here for day 3!