Are You Trying To Be Traditional With Your Creativity?


When people are adamant that they’re not creative (which is a fallacy, everyone on the planet is creative), they think you have some kind of secret.
Or are weird. Or went through something wretched in life, so can only channel such pains through canvas. Or that you’re a nut.


I get this a lot, “How do you come up with this stuff?!” from people who insist they can’t create anything. While insinuating I’m an oddball. Even though they’re pouring through genealogy projects and tweaking photos and compiling into an archived presentation. Despite decorating their homes from scratch without knowledge of interior design.

Regardless of the fact that they can create a bookshelf by grabbing some lumber. I come up with taglines easily. Blurbs. Copy on the fly. I don’t need much time to put something together and rearrange the words and rhythm until it clicks. I do it by jotting down the first few things that come to my head and matching the unlike.

Take a sweet, messy, innocent, clumsy baby. What is the most unlike situation you can find? A bar.

But a baby in an adult bar is just weird. (And something hipster parents love to do in Brooklyn, NY). So scale down said bar and have puppets and miniature bottles. It’s also well done with meticulous detail. With well over 3 million hits (to date).

The puppet playing keyboards at the beginning. The balding waiter who turns and reveals a stringy ponytail. Throw in a padded bra and a fanny pack and it’s like you’re at that touristy cabana bar you stumbled into and watch a train wreck unfold before your very eyes. Taking two unlike things can also rapidly diversify your creativity and potential income. Here are some examples:

  • Skateboarding and jewelry to create wooden rings made from re-purposed skateboards.
  • Classic literature like Pride and Prejudice and brain-hungry zombies to make a whole new (and successful) novel.
  • Crocheting and household items like food and bathtubs on display as art.
  • The innocence of paper dolls with conception for Pregnant Paper Dolls.
  • Wellness expert, Life Coach, and Flamenco Dancer combined for one powerful brand.

Budding Creatives are often held back by the idea that they need to focus on one aspect of their creativity. In essence, they’re trying to be traditional within their creativity.

They somehow believe it’s pushing the envelope enough to want to be a modern dancer. So shy away from something like capoeira. Or pick landscaping and quietly trim away at shrubs instead of yielding their hand at ice sculpting. I initially chose video editing as a career over writing, because I somehow felt I could earn more and it would be more respected if I chose that route. I love video editing, and don’t regret it, but I should have done both a long time ago. Or figured out a way to combine the two and practice more script and pitch writing.

I once worked with a video editor who is dyslexic, and he had a brilliant approach to his work. He took footage and dove in somewhere in the middle or end, while the rest of us were looking at it in a more linear route. He could twist a clip of footage or dialogue and infuse it with energy by jump cutting and putting two shots together that anyone else would have dismissed as nonsensical. It was inspiring to watch. And I learned to look at my work as the big picture, and not necessarily from the beginning or end.

Maybe the beginning of your creative project will be found somewhere in the middle of your story.

When I got hired to write animated scripts for a now defunct arm of the Pokemon.com website, it never occurred to me that combining media and writing was within my grasp. And I marveled that a Japan imation cartoon could combine Pokemon battles, education, and online animation in one space. When people are inspired by others living beyond the status quo, their minds are usually blown. They’re on fire for something new and suddenly see new possibilities. It’s often because they’re doing something that feels standard (like marketing or distributing products) and combining it with something ingenuous (like pioneering marketing and promotion for independent musicians who have the ability to become successful without a record label).

You’re allowed to think bigger than what tradition laid down in front of you.

I’m happier and more at home in my creativity when it’s open and raw. I don’t want to think “Paint” and automatically think “Canvas”. Or “Words” and “Book” or “Blog”. I want my creativity to thrive, not sit in a box someone else drew for me.