Wakeup and smell the creativity

Solange Richer de Lafleche

I hear it all the time, “I’m not creative,” or “I can’t do that because I just don’t have that creative flare.” As a photographer by trade, being a new public relations student has led me to question myself over and over. It’s a trap that’s hard to avoid. However, I don’t think anyone really understands how silly it is to say, because in reality everyone has the ability to be creative.

I see it each day with my three-year-old daughter Lillian. Children aren’t susceptible to the same rules and regulations by which adults govern their lives. They play, and explore, and experiment with open minds. As I’m sitting here writing this, she’s at my feet pretending to be a puppy dog. Panting and barking, looking for a pat on the head. Her spirit inspires me everyday. When she asks to paint, I paint with her. When she asks to play with blocks, I build with her.

According to Linda Naiman, creator of the blog Creativity at Work (www.creativityatwork.com), everyone is born creative but “as we grow up we learn to be uncreative.” We can re-learn it though, by experimenting, exploring, and by using our imagination. What’s encouraging is that no one lacks imagination, and it isn’t reserved to children. Adults use their imagination every day to deal with difficult situations, make important choices, and plan life in general. Just the other day I had to use my imagination to feed my screaming, hungry toddler with only an onion, ground turkey, and a can of tomatoes.

In the field of public relations our job is to think critically about every situation and devise plans/programs that best suit those situations. According to Kirk Hallahan, writer of Creativity in Public Relations, developing “creative” solutions to problems is a critical part of the planning process. As a PR student I used critical thinking and my imagination to devise a plan to deal with the “I’m not creative” problem, leading me to write this blog post.

But how do you tap into your innate ability to be creative?

Use your imagination 

The dictionary definition of imagination is literally “the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful.” So start those creative juices flowing by imagining. Keep it simple, drawing inspiration from things that make you happy. Like watching how your child plays, or browsing your favorite DIY website for inventive approaches to everydayproblems. Take the time to research successful PR firms/practitioners, imagining the possibilities. Imagination can be the difference between success and failure in this field.

Creativity breeds creativity 

Immerse yourself in a creative environment. According to Linda Naiman, creativity, play and learning go hand in hand. Find an outlet that works best for you, be it a group that helps foster creativity, or a class of any sort. You could try keeping a journal, painting, or blogging about PR on a webzine you created. Take the time to experiment and explore so you can discover where your inner creative may lie. Interact with others who hone their creativity. Their practices will rub off on you, and in turn help in your ability to think in new and creative ways.

Criticism vs. constructive criticism

Can’t tell the difference between the two? No problem. Think of it this way. Criticism is negative while constructive criticism can teach. When someone offers you constructive criticism, use it to your advantage. Learn from what you’re being told instead of letting it defeat you. Not sure what I mean. Take the criticism that a co-worker, a professor, or an employer gave you on a past project. Those comments are like an invitation showing you the way to “step outside the box.” Grab that opportunity and run with it, thinking of new and creative ways to tackle your next assignment. I know from experience that it can be hard to take, but it’s a lesson that can define future success.

Remember, you are creative. Stop making excuses for not even trying. Get out there and experiment, explore, imagine, and create. Everything in life is a lesson. It’s how you interpret and use those lessons that define who you are and what you are capable of.

For more ideas on how to foster creativity check out these helpful sites.

Creativity at Work www.creativityatwork.com

Do What You Love www.dowhatyouloveforlife.com