10 Actions People Take to Unleash Their Creativity



For creative people, such as company founders, designers, writers, artists, and others, there are many behaviors that are often surprisingly beneficial. 99U interviewed creative people in a variety of fields and compiled a list of 10 actions that 10 of these people take to be creative.

10 Creative Rituals You Should Steal – 99U


◆01: Take four vacations a year


The biggest action Brad Feld, founder of FeldThoughts, has taken so far is to take a week’s vacation every three months. when Feld heads to the airport on a Saturday, he leaves his smartphone with his wife Amy, spends some time away from the computer completely, and a week later, when he gets home, he takes his smartphone again. When he returns home, he picks up his smartphone again. He rarely takes vacations at home and usually visits a place where he can relax, read a book all day, take a walk with Amy, enjoy adult activities, and enjoy 100% of his vacation, sleeping every night. This is so that when I return to work the following week, I will be refreshed.


◆02: Reflect on the days


Harper Reed, CTO of the IT team that helped President Obama win re-election, explains the importance of daily reflection.

Every time the IT team Reed leads finishes a project, he asks, “How did we get off to a good start? What did we do right? What did we do right? They had a meeting after each project to review their work. The meetings were surprisingly useful because Reed was giving the feedback that all startups do, so he knew immediately what was wrong and what was right. It is so important to know how a project is working and to discuss it immediately. Also, it’s easy for technology people to forget that we have feelings, and it’s important to talk about them. I can walk into a meeting room and say, “So, today’s the opening day, how are you guys feeling?” And the team member will say, “I didn’t like the project at first, but I struggled with it and now I’m really excited about it. We talk about how we really feel.

◆03: Write something every day

Writer Cheryl Strayed recommends writing for self-discovery: “I write as an artist, of course, but I also write when I’m trying to accomplish something or make a big decision. The same is true for the general public: people write when they are in a critical situation, such as after a breakup, even if they have not written for two years. This is because writing is a way of practicing thinking and seeing what is in their heads. Writing naturally brings clarity to the mind.

◆04: Invest in people you are interested in

Author and entrepreneur Ben Casnocha tries to invest in people he finds interesting. This is done using a pre-commitment strategy where he pays a penalty if he fails to meet his goals. The process is simple: by spending time and money on interesting people and expanding your network, you increase the likelihood that you will achieve your goals. Even if you know that networking is important, it is a big gamble to devote an hour a day to making new connections or to go out and have a $40 lunch with interesting people. But you should make the investment in networking because investing in interesting people can actually bring financial benefits and help you achieve your goals.

If one does not take the long view, this will seem like the wrong thing to do. However, many relationships, including romantic, fraternal, and professional relationships, take time to nurture. Trying to build a relationship in a short time ruins the potential for a long-term relationship.

◆05: Collect clippings to be inspired

This is a technique by designer Sarah Foelske. It is important for people who are constantly busy with projects to get away from the computer and work, even if it is just for 10 minutes, to give their brains a break and help them come up with ideas. Exercise and meditation are also beneficial, as it is important to focus on yourself and be yourself in order to be creative.

Foelske also cuts out and saves magazines, invitations, beautiful wrapping paper, and other things that inspire her. The clippings are not categorized and she collects only visual items like a scrapbook to help her draw out ideas.

◆06: Take a nap every day

Pat Kiernan, a TV show host, tries to take a nap every day because he can’t get a good night’s sleep, and he has pretty strictly imposed on himself to take a nap, not to be swept away when he is tempted to go somewhere, to interrupt what he has to do, and to rest his body for work. He rests his body for work.

◆07: Picture something you will be remembered for

Rapha’s founder, Simon Mottram, once lied about the company’s future in the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. He wrote as if he was doing something that he had not yet done, seven or eight months after Rapha was created. Five years later, the business described in these articles had almost taken shape. Five years later, most of the business forms described in these articles have been realized. Five years later, most of the business forms described in these articles have been realized, and the false articles helped to make it happen.

◆08: Thinking at the bar

Designer James Victore does his thinking tasks at the bar and his practical work in his studio. When it is time to write a book, he leaves the studio in the morning and spends an hour to an hour and a half sitting in a park chair, thinking, and when an idea comes to him, he draws it in a large sketchbook. Then he returns to the studio and works until 4:00 or 5:00 p.m., and then goes back to the bar for a beer or two to further clarify his ideas and draw down new ideas.

Great ideas are born from the freedom of not thinking about work. Victore’s method of thinking outside the office and only connecting the ideas together in the studio is unique, as he cannot do all of his work in the studio.

◆09: Walking around outside the building

Radio host Garrison Keillor believes that to get ideas, one should not sit and stare at a blank page. She says it is important to walk around, find clippings, take notes, and write about the things around you. For example, someone walks into a room and finds a great column. And if it occurs to them that the column once saved the bank, they put the two together and take notes. This is a start.

It all starts with observation. Eventually you may not need the starting idea, but it still always starts with an observation or a conversation you happen to overhear. The world is full of different conversations, and it is even easier to get ideas when you walk into a room full of people.

◆10: Brainstorm in your head

Artist and filmmaker Ze Frank uses four or five adjectives or characteristics to brainstorm in his head to bring disparate ideas together. For example, consider that P&G has developed a new toilet paper. Thinking out of the scale of things, Frank asks, “What would happen if there was no toilet paper?” and then, “What if there was a huge distance between us and the toilet paper?” What is the smallest piece of toilet paper you have ever used? “If you had an amazingly large roll of toilet paper, what would it look like?” Who has never used toilet paper? “Who uses it constantly?” What would you do if you had 10,000 rolls of toilet paper?” “What would a world without toilet paper be like?” and so on.

Frank brainstorms in his head until he comes up with an interesting idea, and then, when a new idea comes up, he recounts the process by which the idea came up. This should be a thought exercise that makes you expand your own boundaries.