The Language of Creativity: 3 Easy Steps to Fluency
Updated: Nov 3, 2020
By Ally Moors, Creative Director, Spring 2020
As a creative advertising student, I'm always saddened to hear people say they "don't have a creative side." The concept of creativity should never be limited to skills such as painting, drawing, or designing. In fact, I'd argue the key synonym for creativity is not artistry, but rather problem-solving abilities. You're creative when you're making plans, getting directions, ordering a sandwich, the list goes on and on. You're exercising creativity when you pick a pair of shoes to put on in the morning before you leave the house. In the communications field, the most dangerous lie you can tell yourself is that you're "not that creative" because after a while, you might accidentally believe it, or even worse, let it hold you back from being big, bold, and out of the box.
When someone begins to learn a language, there are only so many ways they can express a single thought or feeling. In the beginning, they might only know one way to say, "I feel good." As time goes on, after studying and practicing, the increased fluency allows someone to express that same singular concept in an almost infinite number of ways. They could instead say, "I am undeniably over the moon" or "I could almost feel my heart skip a beat." Learning to tap into your creative side is just like learning a language. When a client comes to a communications agency, it's usually because they're looking for a solution to a problem. To begin the quest for creative fluency, all you need to remember are these three easy steps:
1. Analyze the problem
You can't know the answer if you don't know the question, and you certainly can't answer it in a language you just started learning. When approached with a problem, consider the Five W's (+ One H): who, what, where, when, why, and how. Ask that about every. single. thing. When you find the answers, you then should ask the same questions about those! You can never gather too much information, resources, and insight. The more you analyze your proposed problem, the more ways you'll know how to describe it, frame it, and deconstruct it. All of these different ways you're able to think about your problem mean the possibilities are endless and leads us into our next step.
2. Pursue the solution, don't settle
Sometimes, the first answer that comes to mind when you're asked a question, is a good answer, but that doesn't mean it's the most effective one. If somebody asked you how you were feeling in a language you didn't really know, you might say "nervous." If somebody asked you in your native language, you might respond "stressing out" or "shaking in your boots." When a client asks you to solve a problem, it's never a bad thing to go with your gut or trust your instincts, but don't stop there. Thinking creatively means seeking out more than multiple answers to one solution.
3. Adapt and repeat
You can certainly learn a language if you memorize vocabulary words from a textbook, but nothing beats education by immersion, like when you have a conversation with a native speaker. An experience where you might find yourself tripping over your words and they come out slowly and unsurely. Likewise, some of the most serendipitous and effective ways of becoming creatively fluent are when your solution requires revision. When that's the case, refer to steps one and two. In a language as vast and endless as creativity, there will always be a new solution to discover, thinking you've exhausted your creative ability means you've only just begun to tap into it.