May 5 – Organization and creativity

May 5. “When your goals are clearly defined and intelligently set, you have, in essence, taken a major step toward programming your left brain. That frees your right brain to be its creative best.” (Zig Ziglar)

I am not sure the concept of this quote is true for everyone, but it does ring true for me. In my own life, when I have the science of things squared away, there is room in my consciousness for the art to come in. I see this in nearly every creative project I have ever undertaken.

I like to refer to this concept as clearing the deck. When I am about to get going on a project that requires my creativity, there are a few things that I need to do in advance. I will usually clean the space in which I am going to work. I make sure that clutter has been removed from the desk or workspace, so it can also be removed from my mind. If there are any routine tasks that need to be done, I clear those out as well. I find the everyday, mundane chores to be distracting to my creative side. Lastly, I make a plan for other upcoming events and tasks that aren’t part of the project. I do that so that as things pop into my head that aren’t part of the project, I can compartmentalize them into an already laid out plan.

To some this would seem to be a lot of work just to get to the point of creativity. And, it is possible that I over think things before releasing my mind. But, this set of steps works well for me. As Zig Ziglar says, it is then that my brain is freed to be its creative best.

The best example I can think of for this is when I am working on calendars. Those who know me know that each year I create personalized calendars for close family and friends. It is a big undertaking every fall, and culminates with me giving them to people over the Christmas season. To be successful at this project, I have to be both organized and creative.

At the start of the season, I will thoroughly clean my desk and office area, so that I can start with a fresh slate. I will make sure that all the chores, tasks and commitments of my life have been accounted for. Lastly I will set up a tracking system for the creation so that as a page is complete, I can see my progress. All of this sets up my framework for success.

I have tried sitting and creating pages without making sure that everything else is in order. Sometimes I can create things that are passable, but most often I use them only as drafts. When I am serious about being creative, I follow through on my process to make myself more successful.

I believe that part of the reason I wasn’t successful at selling my photos also has to do with a lack of creativity. I was so caught up in the business side of things, and in setting the routines for assembling and selling the work, that my abilities to create something artistic were compromised. If I ever go back to trying to sell my work, I will approach it differently. Long before I worry about the sales, I will go through my creative process to come up with work that is actually worthy of the word “art”. I believe this will be a positive factor to promote future success.

For me, being creative requires some planning and work. I know that sounds almost oxymoronic, but it is how my brain works. I can only be my creative best when I have fed the beast of organization that lives within me.

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