Today I wanted to talk about something that I get asked quite often. Now, I’ve been producing content in the form of videos or audio podcasts or blogs for a very long time. I think the first like blog that I actually wrote was over 18 years ago and even before that I was making small websites to publish my content online. I’ve been blogging and making videos and doing all sorts of stuff for a long time. So how does one continue to create? I mean, you would think that at some point you would kind of reach the end of your creativity or you would struggle so much at coming up with something new that you would just run out of options. But I end up having a problem with being able to narrow it down and actually focus on having a clear direction because I am constantly going in different directions. I am always reading, thinking, researching, and expanding my mind to continue to broaden my creative mind.
So creating has never really been a problem for me. It’s more finding that clear direction that is a challenge for me, because when you put things out there, people want some sort of consistency. They want to know what to expect, and a lot of times I’m just all over the place. So, because I get the question often, I wanted to share some of the things that I’ve identified as the things that I have done in my life that has allowed me to continue to create. But these also are things that I can also allow to get in the way. Or I can forget, and I do this quite often.
So by no means have I mastered it or anything like that. These are things that I just identified as areas that so long as I returned to these or that I focus on these, I never have a problem coming up with ideas. I never have a problem being inspired. I never have a problem figuring out what I should create next or what I should work on next. So long as I return to these things.
1. Be True to Yourself and Others
I’m going to use the word passion, even though I don’t necessarily like the word, I think it’s overused but always speak from your passion. And the reason that I’m saying I don’t necessarily like that phrase I’m saying it because it’s the one that everybody uses. But I think what really matters is that you just always remain true to yourself, true to your message, true to your beliefs.
So long as that you’re not trying to be something that you’re not, I think you will always have no problem with creating. The moment that you try to become something that you’re not. You are at odds with yourself first. And so because you’re at odds with yourself because you’re trying to be someone else, you’re trying to produce what somebody else produces. It just doesn’t feel right. You’re at odds with your being, and because of that, it just makes it harder for you to continue to create because it’s not coming from somewhere from within here. It’s coming from ego or it’s coming from, something in your mind that says, I’m not good enough, so I need to copy or I need to be that person. There is so much of that on the internet, and it’s also something that you can get caught up in because if you start producing something and you feel like maybe your message is too closely aligned with somebody else’s, you feel like, “Oh, well I don’t want to come across is that I’m copying that person or I don’t want to come across as trying to be what that person is already doing.
And maybe they have more success so far, than you do or they seem to have more success. There’s a lot that can be like a constant battle there. And as you could probably tell, like I even conflicted often by this. I try to be true and be transparent and of course lead with honesty in my videos because if I ever start to deter from that to where I’m like I believe in what I’m saying, but I’m also not totally on board with the methods or something like that or I didn’t put in the work. I didn’t do everything that I felt to actually be able to talk about that in an honest way.
I feel like I’m BS’ing myself and BS’ing everybody else. So for me, I really just need to be true. I think that so long as you can be true to whatever it is that you care about, whatever it is that gets you up in the morning that makes you excited, then you will have no problem continuing to create because you have something to draw from. Where a lot of people out there are just drawing from what they see other people doing and that’s empty. There’s no depth to that because there’s only so much on the surface level that you can see that other people are doing. You have to be able to dig deeper than that.
2. Be a Practitioner
So number two is to be a practitioner. You have to be a practitioner in whatever it is that you’re wanting to put out there.
You can’t speak from no experience. You have to have experience. And then if you don’t have much experience in whatever it is that you’re trying to whether it’s making videos about, talk about on a podcast, blog about, create in any form. If you don’t have a whole lot of experience, you won’t have a whole lot of depth. And so you need to be a practitioner and it’s okay to start from a place where you don’t have a whole lot of depth. That’s how we all start. I mean a small infant gets up and starts to walk and is wobbly and falls many times and gets back up and doesn’t question or make the choice of like, well, walking isn’t for me. I’m never going to do it again. They get back up and they continue to try until they’re walking and doing it on their own.
That is just innately something that happens in just about every single one of us. So you need to be a practitioner and that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be a professional before you even get started. It just means that you constantly need to be practicing, that you need to be doing what it is that you’re talking about. You need to be speaking from and producing based off of real life experience. And it doesn’t matter if you’re at the very beginning or if you’ve been doing it for 20 plus years and you have all the experience in the world. You just need to be a practitioner and continue at that. At any point that you stop doing that, it’s going to be at odds with your creative mind and your ability to continue to produce, because you’re going to run out of things that you have tried.
You’re going to run out of brick walls that you’ve ran up against and that you’ve had to try and figure out a way through. I mean, as a practitioner of something, you’re constantly trying, you’re constantly revising, you’re figuring out better methods. You are trying to get to that next level and improve. And if you stop being a practitioner of whatever it is that you’re doing, then you run out of creativity. I mean, how can you be creative if you’re not constantly practicing, constantly trying.
3. Always be Researching
Always be researching, and that goes into part of being a practitioner. For me, I’m always researching. I’m always digging. Even in those times of research, it even leads to creative breakthroughs because sometimes I even run into situations where there’s something that I am trying to figure out. There’s something that I’m trying to do and I can’t find an answer out there on the internet.
I’m very much, I can’t say self taught because I’ve been taught by hundreds and thousands of times by people who have put content out there. I’ll want to figure out how to do something. So I’ll research it, I’ll find an answer, I will learn and then I will put it into practice. And if there are any instances where I’m trying to figure something out and I can’t find the answer, then I have to take from my experience and I need to try and figure it out on my own without having anybody else’s knowledge that had the exact answer already figured it out. And so in those situations I have to continue to research.
I have to figure out what is that missing link, what am I not seeing? And usually that leads to a breakthrough eventually and then not even becomes a piece of content or something that I can create and put out there because I as a consumer of the information that’s out there want to be also a producer of information so that if there’s something that I figure out on my own, I put it out there in hopes that somebody else may have that same problem and my solution that I have put out there publicly can be consumed by them, and then their life is bettered as well.
So you’ll always want to be researching, because part of being a practitioner is researching and figuring it out. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to get better at a sport, if you’re trying to be a better student, if you’re trying to be better at anything, researching helps and practicing helps. Those two things lead to breakthroughs. They lead to getting you to the next level and you can’t get to the next level if you’re not doing those things. And you can’t continue to be creative unless you are stretching yourself and you have to do that both informs of practice and stretching your mind.
4. Ask Questions
Always be asking questions. A lot of times, we are afraid to ask questions for many reasons. We’re afraid because we don’t want to come across as… or we don’t want people to think that we know less than we should know.
We don’t want to be wrong. We don’t want to ask a stupid question. There’s lots of reasons why we don’t ask questions, but it’s very important to ask questions because, we have our own perspective and our own, not limitations on just what something can be and somebody else may see it from a different angle and their response to your question or their question to your question, whatever that might end up being, can open your mind and open your eyes to a wider range of possibilities. That often leads to creative opportunities. In my, walk as a photographer over many years now, um, every opportunity that I’ve taken my camera into that’s different is an opportunity where I’m like, okay, I have not done this before. I haven’t photographed this type of event before, this thing before.
I need to ask questions, I need to understand it because I need to take what that situation is all about and I need to match that up with my experience. And then even go back to number three, which is researching. I need to research if I don’t have an answer, if I can’t put it together with the experience that I already have. So asking questions always leads to a new possibilities. People are so afraid to ask questions these days and I know why. It’s because we’ve asked a question before and somebody told us that we were stupid or something like that, or made us feel bad for asking that question. If you look at the successful people in this world, the richest people or whatever, they’re not afraid to ask questions. They’re not afraid to challenge something and to ask a question about it.
If they don’t understand, they want to know more about it. If they even believe the person that they’re talking to doesn’t quite grasp exactly what it is that they’re heading into words in that direction. A question can help direct. There is a reason why we are such inquisitive people and we want to know information. We want to understand things. And it all comes from asking questions. And these days we have so much information available to us. We don’t have to do the physical asking of the question. I don’t have to ask the question because I can ask Google, an inanimate object, that’s not going to tell me that I’m dumb. I don’t have to ask a person. But a lot of times I think when we’re actually really able to find new creativity, we have to be asking questions to people.
We have to see their face, we have to understand them. When we asked that question, we need to see that answer. We need to see if there is pain or struggle and that answer if there’s frustration. All of those things are opportunities for us to understand more and deepen our understanding in just that whole process. I mean asking questions is, super important. And to always be testing, which is number five.
5. Test Continually
If you do not take everything that you have learned and test it and try it and put it to the fire or whatever, you’re never going to know if anything works or not. I am constantly testing, I’m trying new things. I have an idea and I work on that idea a little bit. Well if it’s something that I want to actually pursue, I need to test that idea.
I need to put it out there. If I’m not testing it, I will never know whether or not it’s any good. And a lot of times I do test something and take it down because maybe it just doesn’t end up being what I want it to be a or it didn’t work out. There’s a lot of times I film videos like this and I go and edit them and I spend some time with them and maybe even show it to a few people and I ended up, either re shooting it or getting rid of it altogether or going in a total different direction. Testing is super important. I think the reason that people don’t do a whole lot of testing is because they are afraid to fail.
6. Failure Means You’re Getting Closer
People are really afraid to fail and I get it. Anybody from my generation especially and probably any generation has grown up being shamed for being wrong, feeling bad for being wrong. The way that we’re all brought up, which I’m not going to try and argue whether or not it’s good or bad here. But we are immediately in childhood put into a hierarchy in a sense where we’re graded, where we are lined up in order of something. And so it’s very easy for a lot of us to feel afraid to try because we don’t want to fail. We look back or have these memories of failing as a child, or failing as a teen or even as an adult.
And those things scare us and we don’t want that pain. But if we are afraid to fail, then we are never trying. We are never doing anything that we can be a practitioner out that we can, research, that we can ask questions about and that we can be testing if we’re not failing.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Try
Don’t be afraid to try. I mean, that goes in with don’t be afraid to fail. Trying… it’s very easy for us to say like, “Oh, well I tried that, I tried that and I didn’t like it, or it didn’t work out for me.” Or whatever the situation is. It’s very easy to get caught up in that. But the problem is, is that we need to try, we need to put ourselves out there. We need to understand where our limitations are, what we’re good at, what we’re not good at, so that we can refine so that we can figure out where the areas that we need to grow and work on those.
And maybe there are some things that are just… we’re just not that great at. So we decide okay, well I’m going to focus on these things that do come a little bit more natural to me. I’m not going to totally throw these other things out that don’t come natural to me, but I’m not going to go completely down that road because those things are less likely for me to succeed at. I know for me, like part of what I do is design, as a photographer, as a web designer and I do some graphic design, the design aspect of things is really hard for me. I cannot just sit down and design something and have it be great. It takes a lot and sometimes it takes a lot of time. It takes trying, stopping, walking away, coming back later, multiple revisions.
Whereas some people can just sit down and knock out a great design, really easy, even if it’s a simple design, something really simple. It takes a lot of time. I also need a lot of inspiration for design, whereas some people they can just birth that out of themselves. But when it comes to… my original area of study was development. And with writing code I can sit there and even though I’m not as in practice as I used to be, it was much easier for me to find a little issues in the code that were causing problems that it was for me to come out with a nice design for something. So I tended to focus more on writing code when I was younger because that seemed to be something that was more… just natural came natural to me.
With the camera, I tend to be able to really control the camera well and get the exposure that I’m looking for and get the shot that I’m looking for really fast. I’ve noticed that I do really seem to have that under control. And even in situations where I feel like I don’t and it’s a new situation and I feel like I don’t have it altogether, I still am able to work through that and get past it because I try, I don’t just walk away from that situation. With my YouTube channels, I continue to try, and even though I have some videos that are total failures, maybe even videos that I put up and then realize later, oh, my information wasn’t totally correct in those videos. That you have to try, you have to do your best. And sometimes, when I’ve put up videos where something wasn’t totally correct, it’s a good opportunity for me to take that down to correct, to learn where I made my mistake.
Maybe I was in a hurry, maybe I didn’t totally understand what I thought I understood. But you have to not be afraid to take those risks. And that’s going to happen to everybody. I mean, everybody that does anything and puts it out there is going to be tested and that’s what’s scary to some of us. But as long as you can continue to move past that and continue to test and refine and not be afraid to fail because you’re not afraid to try, I think that you’ll always be able to create. And so that’s what I wanted to leave all of you with today, whether you’re watching this on YouTube or Facebook or Instagram or listening to the podcast or reading it in my blog. I hope that it was somewhat inspiring to you. I know sometimes I talk about topics and I feel like I’m just… I can go in a thousand different directions.
But this really comes from my heart because I do believe that as long as I can remember these things, as long as I can step back and say, “Okay, like where’s the breakdown? Am I not being true? Am I not a speaking from my heart or something that I’m passionate about? That’s, that’s maybe a breakdown in my creativity. Am I not being a practitioner at the time.” I mean, there are times when I want to make a video, but yeah. Have I been a practitioner lately? Am I in what I’m wanting to talk about? Am I all in on it? Do I have recent experience there? If I’m not being a practitioner in the moment, sometimes that breaks down my creativity and I have a hard time being creative. I’m I researching? I’m I asking questions? Even if it’s just asking questions to myself, am I challenging myself? I’m I digging deeper?
If I’m not, that’s a breakdown, potential breakdown in my creative process. Am I testing? Am I trying new things? Am I going back to old things and refining them, trying to see what works, what didn’t work so that I can make the next thing more refined? Am I doing that? If I’m not, then maybe that’s a breakdown in my creative process. Am I being afraid to try something new? Am I being afraid to fail? Because if I am, maybe that’s a breakdown in my creative process.
So I hope that these things helped you out. Leave a comment below this video or podcast or the blog and let me know what you think. I would love to hear where your breakdowns are, what hurts you in your creative process, and what tends to help you in your creative process. I’d love to hear it because I can grow from that as well as I hope that you grow from the things that I’ve shared today. So that’s going to do it for this video, this episode. I hope to see you back in the next one. Take care.