10 Habits Of Successful Creatives

Inspiration

It wasn't until I actually sat down to pen this piece that I discovered that "creative" (when it's a noun, not an adjective) was as controversial of a word as it is. If you surf around cyberspace, you'll see articles like "Are You Creative or Are You an Artist? (You Might Be Neither)" and the quick read "Who Is a Creative?" But I think it's a few lines in the piece, "What Is a Creative?" that I personally resonate with most. According to it, a creative is an artist, an individual and a thought leader; not one or another—all three.


Adding to that, a true creative is someone who doesn't copy or bite off of others. A true creative doesn't disrespect or dishonor someone's intellectual property. What a true creative does do is tap into their imagination to come up with original ideas. What a creative does do is come up with concepts that are nothing short of original, visionary and inspired. A creative doesn't follow paths; they blaze trails. A creative is someone who not everyone "gets" or even always (initially) supports. The creative doesn't care; they keep on creating anyway. It's the creative's habits and lifestyle that help them to keep on creating.

If you consider yourself to be a creative, first, I salute you. There aren't too many things more amazing' than you. I also think that you'll totally resonate with all of the habits that I'm about to share because, there's a high probability that they are a part of your regular routine (as they are mine).

Creatives Spend Time with the Master Creator

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Something that I find to be cool about how God is described in the Bible is, His first introduction is as a creator—"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1) Then, a few passages up, Scripture tells us that He declared, "Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness." (Genesis 1:26) To me, it's a reminder that I was made, by the Master Creator, to reflect His image by being creative too. In many ways, creating is a form of prayer, meditation and worship.

So yeah, it is my personal opinion that while creatives may be, well, creative in how they accomplish this first point, in some way, they are intentional about "tapping into" their Creator—whether it's before, during or after (if not all three), they are creating something.

Creatives Think WAY Outside of the Box

Wanna know if something is truly creative? It will be new, fresh and—one of my favorite definitions of original—"arising or proceeding independently of anything else". In order for something to be that, it's got to appear a little strange, maybe even crazy, at first. Creatives don't mind because they know that's what comes with the territory. It's not about if it makes sense to others or can be compared to something else. In fact, if it does, usually to a creative, that means they aren't doing something right.

To a creative, when they are creating something and someone says, "Yeah, I don't get it", that is high praise. It's a confirmation that they aren't working within a box but outside of it, which is just what they wanted to do all along.

Creatives Avoid Negative Things and People

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Back to spirituality for just a second, according to the Bible, the first thing that God made is light. Light is pure. Light illuminates. Light is a form of guidance. Creatives like to get into and stay in the light. In this sense, what I'm speaking of is positivity. Anything that will take them out of a "light space", they will avoid it like the plague because it is negative and negativity is dark and draining.

I recently read an article from a psychotherapist about just how much negativity alters our brains. Instantly, I thought about someone I know who is a creative. Whenever complaining or gossip comes up in a conversation, they immediately excuse themselves. I've seen people get offended by how abrupt they are, but I get it. They'd rather protect their creativity and energy than not appear rude.

That's something else about creatives—they are very loyal, intensely so, to their creative space, both internally and externally. The more light (positivity), the better.

Creatives Listen to (Different Genres of) Music

There are a lot of artists and musicians in my space. When it comes to about half of them, if someone were to ask me what kind of music that they did, I'd categorize it as being "genre-less". That's because you can tell that they are fans of Biggie and Sade and James Taylor and Mozart and Dolly Parton and The Clark Sisters and Duran Duran and all of 90s R&B and Lizzo and Insecure's soundtracks—all kinds of music inspire them.

Same goes for creatives, at large. It's not uncommon for them to create with the most random playlist you've ever heard before (or complete silence). As far as the music goes, that makes sense because scientifically, music makes us happier, reduces stress and improves our learning and memory.

If you are a creative who always has a set of headphones on, I will give you a heads up on an article that I checked out on this very topic. Apparently, if you want to make the most out of your creative time, avoid rock music, only listen to classical if you really dig it and reserve new tunes for when you're relaxing as opposed to when you are creating. (Feel free to hit up the comments section to let me know if this is true for you or not.)

Creatives Unapologetically Require “Me Time”

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Only a creative will really appreciate what I am about to say. When we're doing something that is the epitome of being a creative entity, it not only benefits us; it blesses others too. Because this is the reality of creating, this means that our energy is constantly being used with other individuals in mind. That's why creatives have absolutely no problem with falling off of the grid from time to time. In order to remain balanced, focused and secure with oneself, there has to be moments when we get alone in order to hear our own thoughts, cater to our own needs and not hear other people's opinions.

It could come in the form of journaling, binge-watching a show all week long or taking a weekend trip to a B&B. But you can best believe that we're gonna shut the world out sometimes, and it's gonna be fairly often, and we're not gonna apologize for it.

Creatives Make Having Fun and Pleasure a Top Priority

Every year, I make it a point to have a theme word—and an anchor text—for my birthday. My peeps are used to that and so, when they asked me what it was gonna be for 45, I knew right away—pleasure. Some of them gave me a sheepish grin but it's whatever. And yes, I have a Scripture to back it up. Two, in fact. The New King James Version of Psalm 16:11 says, "You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore" and the Message Version of Ecclesiastes 9:7-8 has a line in it that says, "God takes pleasure in your pleasure!"

What both of these verses remind me is there has to be room for doing what I enjoy, what makes me laugh, what is pure unadulterated fun.

A lot of creatives remain in a constant state of what I call "purpose fatigue" because they act like it's some sort of crime to get off of the clock and do something for the sheer delight of doing it. But seasoned creatives know that if they don't, they will burn out, possibly get sick and end up miserable. Yep, fun and pleasure are constants for creatives. As often as possible too.

Creatives Unplug and Hang Out with Nature

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Wanna know one reason why it's a good idea to put your smartphone down more often? It competes with your creativity. Think about it. Pretty much everything that we take in online is the manifestation of someone else's ideas. And while sometimes that can be inspiring, other times, it's nothing more than a colossal waste of time. True creatives know this; that's why there are moments—days even—when they may be unreachable or they'd much rather take a hike than watch a movie. They need to unplug for a bit.

This point reminds me of the classic read The Celestine Prophecy. It spends a significant amount of time talking about how nature teaches us things and recharges us. If you're currently having a creative block, get out of your phone and go outside into the fresh air and sunlight for a bit. Out of all of the things that have already been created, just looking at nature can remind you just how beautiful true creations actually are.

Creatives Make Some Pretty “Strange” Sacrifices

The textbook definition of a sacrifice is to give up something great for something better. I'm not sure if anyone does this better than a true creative. They might let go of a relationship in order to get an idea off of the ground. They might move in with a friend so that they can put their rent money towards a bomb business concept. Although they may traditionally be the life of the party, you might not see them for half a year while they try and turn their art into something that will pay their bills.

To the outside world, going for months eating not much more than quinoa and beans or selling your car so that you don't have to take out a loan may appear cr-a-zy. But not to a creative. To them, the sacrifices that they make now speaks to how much they believe that their dream(s) will manifest—and payoff—later.

Creatives Keep Their Circle Super Tight

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Oh, how I wish I could give the person who said this their just due! I just can't remember where I stored the quote. Anyway, it was from a guy who posted on one of his social media accounts that we should be careful who we share our ideas with because they will first try and make us feel insecure about them and then turn around and attempt to do them instead. Pearls. Of. Wisdom.

The funny thing about creatives is, oftentimes a lot of people know who they are without truly knowing them (because someone can't "know you" unless you agree that they do). Because creatives are full of concepts and ideas, they have to be very careful who they open themselves up to. This means that their circle is usually very small because, while they are (hopefully) polite to all, they are intimate with only a few.

It might come off as standoffish at times, but it's not meant to be. Creatives just have to protect their head, heart and inspired space. It will be very difficult for them to create if they don't.

Creatives Take Lots of Risks

And finally, creatives are risk-takers. BIG TIME. However, a wise creative knows that there are such things as good risks and bad risks. What's the difference? I once read a writer compare investing money in the stock market to playing at a casino. Because putting money into stocks typically requires research, you're able to understand the probability of making your money back. It's a risk, but it's a calculated one, making it (usually) a good risk. On the other hand, taking your rent money to casino and playing random games, hoping that you'll be the Black version of Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore in the movie Indecent Proposal (before Robert Redford's character jacked it all up) is basically like playing roulette with your cash, ultimately, making it a bad risk.

Creatives know they have something special. What they also know is a lot of people are hoping that they don't see just how special their ideas and talents are. So, while they do make it a practice to take on ventures, pretty much on a regular basis, they don't do so without doing research, weighing out the pros and cons or without allowing their gut instinct to play a role. They're risky but they aren't super hasty. They know that what's right for them won't pass them by; that the best opportunities will be totally worth the risk and will only take their creativity—and themselves—to new heights. Habitually so.

Featured image by Getty Images

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