Time and Space
The most important creative skill you can have is patience. You need to be patient in order for ideas to come and creativity to flourish. When giving yourself time and space to declutter your mind, you will find that ideas begin to flow.
I like to take at least one aimless walk every day. This is my way of letting my mind wander with no distractions. Sometimes, I achieve nothing with this walk except exercise. Other times, ideas strike me. Regardless, it is calming and achieves the peace I need for future creative endeavors.
Having goals gives you a direction to focus your energy. Rather than wasting energy on various endeavors, having specific goals can help you concentrate and achieve more. Make notes of the ideas you have so you can go back to them. When you feel that they’re ready to be realized, move them to a goal list. Then, you can get to work.
Once you have some ideas ready to go, the first creative skill you’re going to need in order to succeed is drive. While it may not initially feel related to creativity, the drive to get things done well and succeed is as important as any technique you use to get there. Your drive is what will get you up in the morning, out the door, and creating great work.
Equally as important as the drive to create is the discipline to keep creating and seeing things through. Even when you don’t feel like creating, keep at it. Regular exercises and maintaining a schedule will help you be creative when you need to be.
When times get tough, it’s easy to lose the desire to create and break that schedule of creation you’ve worked hard to maintain. The most important thing you can do at this time is dig in and keep working. When it comes to a rough month, or just a problem on a project, grit is the skill that will differentiate you from other creatives. However, it’s also important to know when you’re spent. Know when to take a break and replenish so you can get right back on track.
Be curious. You never know what you might learn by exploring something different. Don’t say “no” immediately because you don’t have an interest in something. Explore all opportunities to learn and see where they take you. Even if they are not immediately related to your own work, be curious and hungry in your education. Try taking an online class or learning a new art form. Trying new things is a great way to flex your creative muscles.
An open mind
Allowing yourself to accept new ideas is an extremely important part of creativity. If you can accept new knowledge without judgment and see it for what it is, there is always something useful to be found. Practice looking at things for what they are and you will found yourself seeing new ways to express them.
Don’t take everything too seriously! Embrace that spirit of unknowing. Stop drawing the conclusions you’ve been taught to draw. Forget what you think you know. Play. Experiment. Sometimes new skills are realized when you’re playing versus working.
You should never stop questioning as a creative and of all the questions you could ask yourself, “What if …?” is the most powerful of them. When it comes to creative work, there is no harm in trying anything. Take stock of what you have and try to work with it. The combination of two seemingly unrelated elements is often what leads to the greatest creativity. Question everything and reach your creative potential!
All the creative skills in the world become useless if you cannot apply them. Know your tools. Understanding programs like Adobe Illustrator or even social media platforms like LinkedIn can help you effectively express the ideas you have. Don’t forget to train yourself in the more technical sides of our disciplines as well.