Creativity is a very nuanced phenomenon, and I won’t even attempt defining it [many have tried to define it, and some have done good jobs defining it, like this definition]. What I will do is to let you into what I understand about creativity, share what has helped me in the game of creativity, and hope that you find some value in what I will be sharing.
How novel is your most cherished idea?
When I started writing about innovation online, I held on to the idea that innovation means creating something new.
Poor me. But as I continued reading, studying & writing, I began to discover that no idea is entirely new. We only make some smart additions to what was already on the ground.
As James Clear rightly puts it “1% improvements.”
So, the next time you set out to innovate, you should know that you are not actually doing anything new, you are only improving on what has already been put in place… you are connecting, iterating, and in the process, you might come up with something better, a stronger version of what was.
I write majorly for nurses and healthcare professionals, though a bulk of my writing is directed primarily to nurses [however I still maintain the balance by creating stuff for the general public] And I always try to write from a perspective of experience & exposure, that is I love it when I share what I have experienced or what I am experiencing.
As a creator, I have discovered that creativity is the backbone of success in the creator economy. If you can’t keep up, you will quickly fade away and the only way you are going to stay relevant is when you keep creating.
This is where the problem lies for nurses and healthcare professionals who are already choked up with their normal duties of saving lives [or other related duties].
How can they be inspired to remain creative?
I will try to answer this question in this article.
Stay with me, go nowhere…
Inspired To Create
My work as a writer is summed up in this short sentence “how can I inspire people to do more?” So, when I write, my aim is to send powerful vibrations of inspiration through your bones, like a jolt of electricity, deep into your sinews, and waking up whatever sleeps inside you [sounds cool, ehh?]
If you have decided to join the army of creators, then I must let you know that you have a long way to go [a lifetime].
And if you have taken the bold step forward and have decided that your creative endeavors will someday be the powerhouse that sustains you financially, then you are in for it. Because you will no longer lean on a salary, your creativity will now be the source that feeds you.
Well, let’s start from somewhere.
We discover our passions in different ways.
I have always known that someday writing will form a big part of my life. It only took some time for me to start growing and learning into it. And I am still growing and learning.
If you have not found your creative forte, then you must look for it.
And what’s the best way to detect your creative forte other than paying attention to the things that interest you.
And the abilities that seem to easily flow through you — some call them talents or gifts.
Whatever it is, look for that thing that excites you.
#1 – Always Make Sure You Are Learning Something New
What have you learned today? Or What are you learning?
Recently I decided to revisit world history, reading about the World Wars and the Cold Wars. Why? I just wanted to refresh my memory, learning something new.
It helped me, and some writing ideas started marinating in the laboratory of my mind.
If you don’t have a voracious appetite for learning, you will never make progress in the world of creativity. The more you learn, the better you can connect knowledge and experiences.
Great clinicians are those who have taken it upon themselves to be disciplined learners. Mighty innovators are the fellows who are dedicated to the habit of learning.
It’s so sad that we are in a world packed with so much information, yet a lot of people are information malnourished because the drive is not there. They are not inspired enough, if they are inspired, they will do.
You have not been inspired if you don’t do if you don’t act if you don’t take action.
Don’t get trapped in the bubble of endless entertainment. It has its place and serves its unique purpose, but too much entertainment can make you dull. Thinking becomes difficult. The guys who keep creating the stuff that entertains you are making money from your attention, they are also disciplined learners who are not in the creator economy to joke [but they entertain you, what an irony].
How many newsletters do you read? How many books have you finished? How many online courses have you taken? How many mentors do you have? How many communities are you dedicated to? How much are you creating?
If you feel you have a talent to speak, how many have you created on Youtube?
Some will tell you that you should get good at it before you jump in, I beg to differ. Jump in unmade, and in it, you will be cooked. You don’t get cooked by standing by the side of the fire. You get cooked in the fire.
If you love to write, how much stuff have you written? Even if you don’t have a website or newsletter, how much can we see on your LinkedIn wall or Facebook or Instagram? That’s how you learn, you learn by… DOING!
We don’t get better by mistake or chance or luck. It’s intentional, it’s deliberate and it’s continuous. And mind you, you can learn how to be creative.
More On Learning
Learn a new skill.
We are in the creator age, where people are beginning to realize that formal education is not always enough. Formal education is good & needed, I won’t join the group that tries to dissuade people from getting a formal education, instead, I will tell people to go for more.
Learn more, especially skills, valuable skills, it doesn’t have to be how to build rockets or nuclear bombs. It could be something as simple as drawing or painting or a new musical instrument.
Learning does something to our brains & minds. It expands our horizons and pushes us to discover our abilities. The best way to discover yourself is to learn something new.
While you were in school, studying for your degree, you definitely discovered a lot of things about yourself. How you interacted with your colleagues, how you studied, what you like & dislike, and a plethora of things about yourself that you would not have found out if you did not attend the university or college.
That’s what learning does to us. It exposes us and gives us the opportunity to explore.
now to the next…
#2 – Keep Practising
The secret of champions is in the power of intelligent repetition.
They keep doing it, they keep iterating. It’s good to read and attend webinars, but I am more of the doing type. I love to get it done.
If you want to be a great creator, get busy creating.
Don’t just create in your mind [or leave your ideas in the imagination realm], express it, make something solid and tangible that people can interact with.
This point is almost similar to the first point, but with more emphasis on being intentional.
How do you know what you are learning is transforming you? It’s simple, by what you keep producing — your results. Your output.
When I started writing online, I did not know a lot of things. Yes, I had a love for writing and I had talent, but I had to mold that gift into something presentable, by learning & doing.
Have you found your gift or talent? If you have, then it’s time to start doing.
Start by creating for yourself, then an audience will build up, and before you know it, a community starts to grow out of your work, and if you want to push further, clients will emerge from your work, but first, be satisfied creating for yourself, for the love of it.
On Remaining Consistent
This is where the big problem lies for many creators — how to keep going. I am seeing the art of consistency from a fresh perspective — the perspective of HABITS.
Here, one of my favorite writer’s teachings comes into play, James Clear. His award-winning book, Atomic Habits is one every serious creator needs to study. It talks about the power of small improvements. And I think it has a connection with being consistent in the creative ecosystem.
If you can commit yourself to build a new positive habit, you have the resources to remain consistent.
Being consistent has nothing to do with how smart, intelligent, gifted, or talented you are. Consistency is like a big gate that allows your creativity to flow out of your life. Without it, creativity will be locked up inside you.
When I started learning how to be consistent with writing, I discovered that there is no limit to how creative you can be. What you need to do is defeat the urge to be lazy, procrastinate, and start getting things done.
#3 – Be Determined & Disciplined
Often, I hear people tell me how do I get the time to write? And the answer I give them is that my brand depends heavily on writing. If I don’t write at all times, how do I preserve it? If they had a brand that they had to keep alive with writing [or speaking or designing], they will understand better.
If your life depended on something, you’d give it the time it needs, the sacrifice, and the discipline needed to keep it alive.
It’s going to be tough, I must tell you. Many times you will feel like giving up, throwing in the towel, and calling it quits. Sometimes, you may even abandon the journey. But you will find yourself always coming back to it. The spirit of that venture keeps calling you back.
This is one reason why many will not survive in the creator ecosystem. They can’t muster the determination & discipline needed to preserve a creative & innovative lifestyle.
I have sentenced myself to a life of determination & discipline. Imagination is good, it’s a vital aspect of creativity & innovation, but it’s never enough. You must be determined & disciplined enough to push your ideas out of your head.
#4 – Seek Mentorship And Coaching
So, much has been said about mentorship. I have written a lot about mentorship and there are still a couple of drafts on mentorship on my writing board.
We need more true mentors. I added ‘true’ because we are beginning to see a new breed of mentors that are out to prey on the desperate.
There are qualities that you must look out for in a mentor [I am writing something on this].
And if you don’t see these qualities, don’t commit your precious life/time to them, ever.
If you have the resource, you can look for a coach [there’s a difference between a coach & a mentor] And if you are lucky enough, you can get into free coaching classes. If a coach decides to take you under their wings without you paying for their time and expertise, then it’s no longer coaching, it’s mentorship [please don’t crucify me for my own point of view]. I just feel that mentorship is a very personal issue, many don’t see it that way, it’s a deep relationship. Deeper than “leader-follower relationship”, deeper than paying for leadership services.
If you have not found a mentor yet, you need one. You may have more than one mentor, but there is always one that embodies all that you want to become. If you have found them, follow them. You may not know them at face level, but get acquainted with their works.
Find your way into their communities, pay for their courses [if need be], be humble enough to learn from them [it doesn’t matter their age, orientation, religious beliefs, or whatsoever].
And if by chance you get to meet them directly [it could be face to face, or online], make it known to them that you are not just a fan but a student of their work, and you would love to learn from them. If you play the cards well, you will find your way into their heart.
#5 – Learn To Think Clearly
Thinking is not worrying and it’s not an excuse to procrastinate.
Thinking is active work.
If your thinking does not produce results or make you better then you have been wasting your time.
Let me repeat this again…
Thinking is not worrying. They don’t even look alike, are not related, and will never be.
With thinking you are forming clear mental maps that should direct & guide you. By worrying, you are doing nothing, other than wear your mind out, waste useful energy and cause yourself heartaches & headaches.
When I discover that my thinking sessions have metamorphosed into worrying, I suspend that session and do something else.
#6 – Learn How To Handle Time Effectively
There are no productivity resources that do not include a chapter or two about time management.
If you can’t manage time, you will be left behind. Read books on time management. Read blogs that discuss it. Apply the lessons you have learned, it’s not always one-size-fits-all. Be intelligent enough to modify it to fit your busy schedule.
You need to learn how to adjust to accommodate greatness. It may mean cutting down on unnecessary activities during the day so that you can rescue some seconds and use the time to do what you have to do.
Build A Schedule And Respect It
Under time management, the importance of developing schedules occupies a very important place.
You must have daily schedules, weekly & even monthly schedules. Schedules are like the tiny steps that make up the path to your goal as a creative entrepreneur.
I know, there are times that you might act spontaneously, especially when ideas stroll by and the muse visits, this is why you should be flexible, and as well still respect your schedule.
Give allowance to the sudden outbursts, and when you have cooled off, go back to the confines of your schedule.
#7 – Stay In The Company of Creators, Innovators & Leaders
Apart from having a good mentor or good mentors, look for friends who understand and cherish creativity, innovation & leadership.
They will stimulate you, encourage you, help you, assist you, rebuke you, they can become small mentors, as you all hurdle around the common fireplace of innovation and leadership to keep yourselves warm.
If you walk with fools you will become foolish, but if you walk with the wise, you are destined to become a wise fellow. And the act or art of walking talks about interacting with them, learning from them, and being an active part of the community and not a statue.
If your closest friends are always talking about Netflix and how to go shopping, how do you want to grow, and how do you want to appreciate innovation & leadership?
I am not saying you should become a dull, and joyless fellow, what I am trying to say is that let the things that go inside you remind you more of who and what you are. Let the people around you stimulate you to work towards your goals as a leader, as a creator, as one who is desperate to change their lives and the lives of people that they come in contact with.
It’s that simple.
# 8 – Explore
Creativity is an adventure.
If you don’t enjoy adventures, you won’t enjoy the business of creativity.
Learn to explore, learn to sometimes do things that you have not done before, like drawing, cooking, pottery, painting, dancing, learning a new musical instrument, maths, geometry, or something that does not relate to your skillset.
You will be amazed at how much inspiration will come running at you.
Do some poetry, write a short story for your eyes only.
If you are a core scientist, explore the arts, if you are a staunch art man, explore the sciences. There is an invincible connection in the creative ecosystem, and only a few can find it, because they have dared to dive in, to explore.
When I feel dull, empty & drained, I do something else. Maybe watch a movie [I usually like animations & sci-fi], play a strategy game [I love strategy games], do some exercise, read a novel [I always have big novels by my side]. These are some of the ways I try to stay creative, you need to find yours, and enjoy it.
Go people-watching [there’s something about just sitting there watching people do their everyday thing].
Explore, Explore, Explore!
All Work And No Play
Set time aside to relax. It’s important.
Do you know that while you relax, and get refreshed, fresh channels of inspiration tend to open up?
Pores that have been clogged by the dust and debris of work seem to pop open. That is why it’s good you always take out time to relax. If you are feeling overwhelmed, turn down the volume, and rest.
It’s not a crime to rest. If you have enough resources, go for a vacation. Enjoy yourself, reward yourself, and you will be amazed at how fresh ideas will start crawling into your heart.
I am not a full-time writer, yet. I still hold down a job, a clinical job, but I have been able to carve out time for my writing. It has become a part of my life.
I know that we spend most of our time as nurses and healthcare professionals in clinical environments, in hospital wards, clinics, theatres, and all sorts of cold places, and for the creative one, it’s not going to be easy thinking about creativity when you are trying to render care to a patient, or while carrying out a surgical procedure.
But, when you find yourself in the creative ecosystem, something changes within you…
You Become Conscious: The Creative Mindset
You become conscious of life, and the people & things around you.
And this consciousness kind of turns you into a magnet that attracts ideas.
Ideas that were there all this while, but you were too busy to take note of them.
So, while you are giving a patient his medication, your mind is alert, it’s opened & receptive to the waves of inspiration that might flow by at any moment. You are not distracted, your focus is laser-sharp, strong, and bright. That’s the creative mindset.
Learn To Take Notes
A bonus here, stuff I feel you should know, or if you already know about it, I think there’s no harm in reminding you.
You should have a note-taking app on your device.
Write down things that come to your mind.
Take picture notes, video notes, voice notes. You do these as a form of landmarking so that when you sit down to think & create, you can always go back memory lane and these notes serve as a landmark that indicates spots of inspiration for you.
Find meaning in what you are doing. This is so important, it should take up a whole paragraph or even more, but let’s just talk past it. If you don’t know why you will struggle along the way. Discover “your why”.
Embrace discomfort & understand failure. You will get uncomfortable. Financial discomfort will show up some days, physical discomfort will come knocking. There are some times you will not get enough food or sleep, it’s all part of the process. Don’t let it kill you, instead draw life out of it.
And on failure.
Hey, you will fail. I have failed several times.
Some ideas did not just fly, and I believed soo much in them. Well, I was unperturbed, I kept moving, kept writing, kept reading, and kept learning. You must understand failure.
Let me leave you with this amazing quote from Elizabeth Gilbert:
How does that sound?
If you have been afraid of stepping into the creator universe, I hope this piece inspires you to take some bold baby steps forward.
And if you are already in it, whether toe-deep, ankle-deep, knee-deep, or waist-deep or neck-deep, or you are already submerged in it, I also hope that you find something in here to inspire you to keep being the best that you were made to be.
We started a Content Development Agency. We are focusing on Healthcare & Healthtech startups & brands, Healthcare Communities [NGOs], and related brands. We want to work with you in creating a unique voice for your brand, or as the case may be, if you already have found your voice, let us work with you in amplifying it.
I recently started a personal newsletter on Substack. I call it ‘UNBOUNDED.’
Yeah, it has no boundaries, because I will be writing about a whole lot of things.
There are some of my articles that I can’t publish here on Care City, you will find them there [some of my older articles & essays will also get featured there].
You will find my articles & essays on leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, self-development, society, a little bit of politics, some relationship, romance, and marriage stuff, essays on writing and so much more — so, you see it’s UNBOUNDED!
You don’t want to miss all of that.