Transperia Group, Inc.
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Hot 5: Filling the Creative Tank

November 12, 2008 · Print This Article
Posted by Mark Bennardo

WaterdropAnyone in the “creative business” understands the importance of inspiration.

If you’re one of those people who is a prolific, never-ending wellspring of creative ideas, good for you. You’re rare.

For the rest of us who have to crank out creative ideas day after day, there are times when the well can begin to run dry. I’ve found that, for me, in order to keep the innovative and creative ideas flowing, I have to make a commitment to fill my creative tank on a regular basis. If I don’t, I inevitably find myself lacking in the flow of new ideas.

Here are five ways to help fill that creative tank. I’m sure there are many others (and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the “comments” section), but here is a handful to start with:

1. Absorb Stuff That You Simply Enjoy: When I buy a new book, go to a movie, see a play or buy a new album, I often limit myself to the types of things that I think I might be able to use in upcoming projects. I’m searching for elements I can pillage for another application.

I’m trying more and more to simply drink in the kinds of movies, music, theatre, etc. that I enjoy—that fill me up. I may not find a killer song to use in a video, or an inspirational clip to use in my next event, but it stimulates my general creativity—and that’s what drives innovation for me.

2. Create a Coffee Group: Find other Creatives in your area and get together on a regular basis to share ideas. I often meet with other musicians, artists & producers to talk about what is currently exciting us. The more diversity in the group’s creative disciplines, the better. It’s amazingly stimulating.

3. Exercise: I know this sounds simplistic, but the more I exercise, the sharper my mind works. I also tend to get great, new ideas when I’m working out. And try exercising without the iPod for a change. If you allow your mind to be uncluttered for a few minutes, you’ll be surprised what starts to happen.

4. Cross-Train: If you are a little stuck in your discipline of choice, try learning something new that is totally unrelated. Want to become a better musician, take up Tae Kwon Do. Hoping to increase your Photoshop skills, learn to play guitar. Then look for ways that the new skills or discipline might have a crossover application to your other area. It’s uncanny.

5. Do the Opposite: As George Costanza taught us, sometimes doing the opposite can be the best strategy. If you’ve always successfully done things one way, try approaching your next project by looking at it from the opposite perspective. It can be very enlightening.

There’s a starter. So, what do you do for inspiration? Please, please add your ideas, and let’s keep the conversation going.

4 Responses to “Hot 5: Filling the Creative Tank”

  1. Craig Ellis Says:

    Here’s an even better idea: work with Mark Bennardo. We are currently working on our third big project together and he is the most supportive, genuinely caring person I know! We have spent hours in the creative process, and whenever he senses the creative fuel running dry, he suggests a walk, a movie, or something as simple as a change in environment, and bam! The creative tank magically replenishes, every time! Listen! Mark’s advice works. I know first hand, and he will forever be my creative “gas man”.

  2. Mark Bennardo Says:

    Thank you for your kind words, Craig. I think you give me too much credit, though. It’s always a blast working with you!

  3. nate Says:

    good words, mark. i had a post a bit ago about being in a lyrical funk. i would write 5 songs every time i picked up my guitar but couldn’t get a word down that i actually liked.

    so…i put my guitar down and picked my pen (or keyboard) up. i was so frustrated by the volume of music and the lack of lyrics that i just decided to starting writing more…mostly blogging. my calluses are gone, unfortunately, but my brain is slowly getting things under control. i think my problem wasn’t no words…i think it was too many. blogging is helping me get them out…along with commenting on your blog. i’m glad i found it.

  4. Doug Buller Says:

    Mark, there are some great ideas here. I’m not in the “creative business” but I think they can be applied on a personal level as well.

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