I’m heading downtown this morning to spend the day with the wonderful gang at SAW Video Co-op. I’m on the Board of Directors there, and today is what’s known as a “Visioning Retreat”…which is really just a fancied up term for creative planning, I think.

I don’t know exactly what to expect, but I’ve been to lots of these kinds of sessions before. I find them to be quite a bit of fun, when done well. I have no doubt that this session will be great – these guys are a class act.

Before I head out, I wanted to jot down a few ideas on creativity. Creativity is something that lots of people get apprehensive about. “I can only be creative when I have complete silence.” “If I’m not feeling it, it won’t happen.” “Most other people are far more creative than I.”

We have lots of excuses for our lack of creative energy. I make them all the time. Someone once told me that procrastination is a direct result of not having enough information. If you don’t know, you can’t do. Kinda makes sense, eh? So how do we get over the hurdle and get into a creative mindset? Here’s a few things I’m trying.

Clean the closet. It’s next to impossible to have a creative thought if you’re busy worrying about everything else you need to do. But don’t sit there saying to yourself “I’ll work on my creative thing as soon as I get X and Y done,” because you’ll never get to Z, I promise. The best way I’ve found to get things out of my head is to get them onto a list. Get a clean sheet of paper and a pen (Yes. Low tech here, people!). Write down everything you need to do. EVERYTHING. Once you’ve got your list, put it away. There. Now you have a blank slate. Create!

Have lots of dumb ideas. Seriously. I have dumb ideas all the time. Ridiculous, even. I know it’s dumb as soon as I think of it. But I make note of it anyway. (Tech tip – I am a fan of Evernote for this, because I can jot it down from any computer, handheld device, etc. and it’s all synced up all the time). Because what might be a dumb idea today could be a brilliant move in 6 months. That’s happened to me a lot. Come up with lots of dumb ideas, because for all the dumb ones, you’re going to get some real gems.

Many hands make light work. It’s true, there are some things in life that are just better when you do them with someone else. (No, I’m not talking about that. But think what you want.) It’s fine to be a creative loner sometimes. Writing this blog is my independent creative outlet (though I get lots of inspiration from you all). But really, I can’t think of anything I like more than sitting in a room full of creative minds, shouting out ideas, playing off one another, and making something brilliant. It’s a wonderful feeling, to be supercharged with all the creative energy that a group can have. If you need to get fired up creatively, grab some friends or colleagues, lock yourself in a room for a few hours and see where you end up. It works.

Well it’s about time for me to head out. I’m excited for today, and for all the new ideas and creative moments we’ll have. I’ll leave the rest up to you, okay? If you have thoughts to share on how you spark your creative energy, share them with us in the comments.