Creative thinking takes energy, courage, dedication, discipline, and a ton of hard work. It's easy to lose focus.
Getting lost, down, frustrated, discouraged, and demotivated is a natural part of the process, but no matter how tough it gets, quitting should never be an option.
Get past the ugly times and keep focused during the good with these five tips guaranteed to beef up your creative muscles so you can produce work you're proud of.
1. Remove (-)
Negativity kills creativity, and negativity is everywhere. You can't control what others sling at you, but you can control what you let fester inside yourself.
When negative thoughts about your skills, ideas, and potential enter your mind squash them like cockroaches.
Don't confuse constructive criticism for negativity. You can always do better. Constructive criticism isn't a cockroach. It's a caterpillar with the potential to become a butterfly.
The negativity that kills our creativity is the "I can't do that" thoughts that sneak into our heads when we're scared of failing or looking silly. When your mind is full of can't, you won't.
3. Rid Yourself of Half-Assery
Half-assery is lazy and leads to mediocrity. There's nothing mediocre about creative thinking.
When you find yourself going through the motions, having a string of lazy days that last a month of Sundays, or just doing the bare minimum to get by, slap yourself across the face and have a stern talk in the mirror. Take more pride than that.
4. Guidelines Are Friends
Too many parameters can be constrictive, but creative thinking and problem-solving isn't the Wild West. Lawless towns wreak havoc on creativity because creativity take discipline and focus.
Embracing deadlines and other requirements of projects wholeheartedly for work may not be an issue, but on personal projects the struggle might be more prevalent.
If you're having trouble coming up with ideas or projects to work on, try giving yourself a project to complete. Assign a deadline and other parameters to help you focus and deliver tangible work in a timely manner.
5. Be Brave
Not only must you face the reality that you will fail and look silly, but some people are just shitty. The world seems more negative than positive, and the bad is always easier to remember and harder to forget than the good. If you're serious about doing creative work and sharing it with others, you're going to get knocked down, told no, and sometimes worse.
Social media has given people the power to share ideas, passion, and work all around the world, but it's also given cowards a bullhorn for their hate-filled speech. Don't let that stop you.
Your skin will callous over time. You'll be a Ninja Turtle. The haters will slide off your shell, but know that mean-spirited comments will always sting a little no matter how tough your shell gets. It comes with the territory, so be brave. You're stronger than you think.