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How to improve your creative process

The best place to start is to assure that you are embracing imperfections just as much as you are pursuing perfection.

Photo by <a href="">Kyle Glenn</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

As a young and very early-stage startup laying down the foundations of what we hope to look back at as the beginnings of a worthwhile creative journey. We are confronted with this challenge often.

In many ways, the journey has already been worthwhile. When Jens and I started Morii we both came from divergent but loosely coupled backgrounds. We started our quest with no actual skill or knowledge of videography but with a solid brand, marketing and sales acumen. Ask anybody in these fields and they will stress that creativity is not only a plus but a must to do well.

Here are a few things we have learnt through our trials and that we see expressed in the different creators we are lucky to come across daily.

"The process and the end product are equally valuable" - Virgil Abloh

This quote can be understood and dissected in many ways. When it comes to the creative process it is very straightforward. You can not expect to create something genuinely creative unless you are meticulous with the process.

Take Morii Mondays for example. A very large part that might seem simple for most is curating great content that matches the values we wish to share and cultivate in Morii. We have found that the posts that perform the best are the ones where we are unapologetically ourselves and more focused on enjoying each pixel rather than the bigger picture and vision we have.

The paradox of any creative process is that it is rarely made more straightforward by having a high IQ or random movie-like epiphanies. It is usually a matter of consistently training and challenging imagination, thought patterns, practising observation and dreaming big AND small. It sounds simple, and yet in this era of information overload and Ant-Man-sized attention spans, these important elements are often missing from our everyday creative lives.

All too often we focus on the end product, devoting our mental bandwidth to routine actions including Instagram etc. so that at the end of the day the most creative idea we can come up with is finally taking a break from the "metaverse". Sound familiar?

Whatever you’re doing – whether it’s work or leisure – practice spending time applying the “three ifs” formula to anything you see or imagine.

This will help you get into the habit of making space in your mind for dreaming – essential for creative thinking and cultivating a stronger creative process.

The "three ifs".

(1) What would happen if I change X? (the approach/ the object / the system/ the timing)

(2) What would I change or improve about this if I wanted it to have a lasting impact over 10 years?

(3) What would I do if I had a one-million-dollar investment to improve it?

These questions are designed to make us at Morii think or assist our clients in thinking differently. It is important to continuously challenge your assumptions and repeatedly use the “three ifs” formula. Tailor the questions to fit your creative journey and insights will begin to pop up more often. If not then you are not asking the right questions.

For a creative process to be optimal it needs time. Time in the sense of clearly defined boxes of time carved out and invested in focused creative thinking and creating. Google asks its teams to allocate at least 20% of their time to creative thinking or new projects and it seems to be going okay.

Showing up does not necessarily mean the results will appear. Just like a physical workout the quality and deliberateness of the exercises must be up to par.

Allocate time that fits your lifestyle and schedule. Whether it be an hour per day or per week – in which to cultivate your creative process focused on something specific. I have found that 25 min with 5 min breaks in between for as long as I can stay focused for a full round works best for me. This is a variation of a technique called The Pomo-Doro technique and is a great way to stay focused without hitting a wall of mental fatigue.

The magic happens over time as you revisit a specific task or goal in your allocated time boxes. The process becomes smoother and less taxing. It also becomes a ritual judged not by the results but merely by showing up. Which is a great way to rewire your mind to focus just as much on the process as it does the end product. Time boxing is a great way to take the pressure off and allow intuition to step in more often. Trust in one's own intuition is probably the best companion towards mastery but that is a discussion for another day.

Last but not least the clearest and most tried and tested way to improve your creative process is through the advice of someone further along the journey than you, your peers, and people you trust.

Collaboration and other people's perspectives often have a snowball effect. That is why almost any great creator has a team/someone they bounce ideas off. The worst mistake a creative can make is believing they have all the answers and can judge what they do a hundred per cent objectively. It is never too late to train yourself in this mode of interacting and it is rarely a wrong choice when you vet and choose the right people.

Keep iterating, keep creating and improve your creative process until it only exists outside the box.

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