In my current job incarnation, I need to be creative. I need to be creative at certain times, to meet certain deadlines. Planning my time with these deadlines in mind helps. A creative space, days or weeks before a deadline, eases the pressure and allows free creativity. But what happens when I, or you, need to be creative and create something within a couple of hours. How can we be creative on demand?
Deadlines can be persuasive. It is easy to see deadlines as the enemy when they loom in front of us, but they are a source of encouragement. The added stress that a deadline brings will get adrenalin and the creative juices flowing. We all need an amount of stress to provide motivation. So, being given a short time to be creative in, can actually be exactly what we need.
Open the cupboard of hints and tips. If you are getting nowhere, give yourself a helping hand with the simple creativity exercises we love to hate. All of the following, and many other, tips can help trigger the creative process, so don’t be afraid to get back to basics.
- Think of five related words around the main subject of your project and see where they lead.
- Think of the opposite to what your subject is, again seeing where that takes you.
- Think of your subject in a situation where it is not normally found, what ideas does that spark?
Avoid a blank sheet or screen. The pressure is on, the deadline is imminent and all you have in front of you is a blank sheet of paper or an empty electronic document… run! No, seriously, get away from it. As the pressure and stress levels rise, the last thing you need is an empty space. This blank nothingness will grow and grow engulfing any hope you have of creative lift-off. A quick walk around, a little tidy-up or a ‘phone-a-friend’ moment can break the ‘blank’ spell. Taking your mind off a problem can often allow your mind to solve it, and be creative. Be sure to keep a capture device relatively close by though… that deadline isn’t far off.