Creativity is Messy

Creativity is profound and elusive. In fact, at that exact moment when you need it most, that is when it’s most difficult to evoke.

Creativity is messy and wild. It refuses to behave.


There are methods that we can teach ourselves to get better at creativity.

Brainstorming, for example.

Just a list of dumb ideas?

In our inaugural Mrs. Doubtfinder episode, Judi Srebro and I, explore the idea of brainstorming.

Mrs. Doubtfinder pokes fun at us.

“Brainstorming?” she asks, “is that what you call your list of dumb ideas?”

So yes. And no.

During my own brainstorming sessions, I see how many ideas I can write down in ten minutes.

The closer I get to the ten-minute deadline, the harder it is to come up with ideas. But, that’s when really interesting ideas begin to surface.

Not all ideas are good. Or in the words of Mrs. Doubtfinder, sometimes they really are dumb ideas. But what’s important to keep in mind is that often, you can’t get to the good ideas without bad ones.

Growth Mindset

Mindset is important. In everything we do. Think about the old monopoly mindset.

Or think about Henry Ford’s famous quote “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.

Henry Ford Quote

We are what we believe.

Humans are dynamic. Sometimes even fickle.

The idea is to spend time on the creativity process, taking into account our goals and what we expect to achieve.

Who we are today is not who we are tomorrow. The more we learn, invest, and work towards building what we want to bring into the world, the more we grow.

How to brainstorm

So yes. Creativity is messy. And it demands courage and perhaps even a growth mindset.

But it’s easy enough for anybody to do, anytime, anywhere.

Stuck on something? Get unstuck.

Take ten minutes, or another pre-defined time, and use it to come up with different ideas about how to solve your problem. Don’t put your pen down until your time is up. Keep pushing yourself to find more ideas. Push hard. Come up with zany ideas that might never work. Because the idea after that, or the one after it, will be the idea you’re looking for.

So, don’t be afraid of messy creativity or being told that your ideas suck.

Each one of us has an internal Mrs. Doubtfinder, and she can be brutal.

But you don’t have to listen.

Use your courage to brainstorm your way out of any mess.