How To Be More Creative
Creativity is not something you are necessarily born with or a skill that can’t be learned or honed. Best-selling author, world renowned blogger and one of the great marketing minds of a generation Seth Godin offers a roadmap to becoming more creative in a recent Tim Ferris Show podcast. Godin explains: “If you want to learn how to juggle, you have to drop an enormous amount of balls. If you want to learn how to swim, you have to sort of drown. If you want to learn how to be creative, you have to show me an enormous number of bad ideas. Pick the smallest region, domain, any segment you want. Start listing your bad ideas. Keep listing your bad ideas. Let’s prove that your bad ideas are not fatal. That’s part one.”
Part two involves domain knowledge and genre. Godin defines genre as what to expect when someone encounters your work. He cites Earl Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason novels as an example. Perry Mason fit neatly into the genre of mystery novels. However, they were nothing like Agatha Christie novels. Earl Stanley Gardner sold a quarter of a billion books by writing his own succinct, idiosyncratic, peculiar, particular books that clearly were in a genre.
What genre says is there’s a box and I can’t think outside the box because it’s dark, but on the edges of the box I have leverage. You’ve got to know what the box is before you can make a thing that is going to be seen as creative.
It is true that every once in a while an outsider shows up with something that nobody on the inside ever thought of, but that’s not usually what happens. What usually happens is someone who has good taste decides to be creative. Good taste means you know what your clients want 10 minutes before they do. That’s all. You can’t have good taste unless you have domain knowledge and understand the genre. So, if you combine those two things, shipping on the regular and good taste, you can be creative.
If you want to learn something every day, subscribe to Seth Godin’s blog https://seths.blog.