Back in the year 2000, I read an excellent piece by David H. Lyman called “The Creative Personality.” Regular readers know that this is one of my top-tier topics, because absolutely everything that makes one DJ service different from another centers around the performer himself (or herself). Those who run a multi-op understand this well; they know who brings in the most repeat business; which of their DJs are requested by name most often and, to add to their stress levels, who they must work hard to make sure they don’t lose them to a competitor or to the impulse to go off on their own.
So what is it that makes these entertainers stand out? Personality certainly has a lot to do with that, yet one trait is even more important: creativity. You can’t go into a store or jump online and order it with a credit card like you can the latest lights or façade. They’re traits that creative people have, and that those of us who might be a bit less creative can cultivate. With many thanks (and apologies, I’m sure) to Mr. Lyman, here’s my top twelve list of things you can emulate to boost your own creativity:
12. Creative people make connections that others might not. “[They] love putting things together,” Lyman writes, “especially things that at first do not appear to fit, but later the arrangements appear obvious.” My regular readers might recall my pilfering things wholesale from other professions and retrofitting them to DJ work. Not all creativity means pulling ideas out of thin air, but taking things that you might not otherwise think of in DJ terms and using them because they solve a problem or just plain work for a particular audience.
11. Curiosity! The creative person wants to know how things are and why, intrigued by the possibilities. They’re always asking themselves, “what if?” Whatever your clients might be into, they want to learn more about it. Curiosity may kill cats, but it earns entertainers Grammys, Oscars and Emmys and repeat business for mobile DJs!
10. Creative people are “different,” and that’s just how they like it! They feel no need to conform, and give themselves permission to stand apart from the crowd. They’re playful, childlike, and independent, entertaining ideas freely, yet taking nothing too seriously. They’re true mavericks, not playing by the rules and thinking outside the proverbial box. They’re adept at brushing aside criticism and objections. Long odds and obstacles don’t faze them.
9. They don’t stop inventing. “While they enjoy putting things together (or taking them apart),” writes Lyman, “they do so in order to discover what’s possible. Creative people do not like to produce the same thing over and over.” They get their thrills discovering new possibilities.
8. Creative people are adventurous. Being exposed to new things is the rocket fuel for creativity! Nothing comes from a vacuum. They try new things, travel to new places and soak in their experiences.
7. They think “big picture.” This may make them less accurate, punctual, and proper, since these things can get in the way of being spontaneous and trying new things. Discovery and the big picture is the focus, not the picayune details.
6. They’re spontaneous, eschewing a script. They write their own! They go where the moment leads.
5. They’re bold, confident and take action. Brainstorming is not being creative! It must lead somewhere: a product, a performance, some sort of creation (hence the word “creativity”). One can’t be paralyzed by overthinking; even taking action without thinking can be better than waiting to think of the perfect thing. Don’t fear the rough draft, the balled-up script or the routine that goes nowhere. Just ACT! Hammer it out. Put your idea (and yourself) through its paces. Only after you’ve seen what you have done/produced, can you then adjust your direction. Even mistakes move you forward! It’s far easier to fix a bad script than create a perfect one from scratch.
4. They avoid Cliché! Creative people eschew the mundane, obvious or mediocre. They push beyond, not content to boldly go where everyone has gone before.
3. Creative people know when it’s time to stop and move on. I know it’s difficult for the perfectionists among us, but a gifted creative person knows when something can stand on its own.
2. They have a good sense of humor. They see the humor in life’s absurdities and aren’t afraid to laugh, especially at themselves.
1. They’re passionate! THIS is the thing a creative person wants to do at that moment more than anything else in the world! Some might see them as hyperactive, single-minded, arrogant or egotistical. A better word might be “driven.” This ultimately shows in the work.
For more on David Lyman and the Creative process, see: http://www.onbeingcreative.com/OnBeingCreative.com/Welcome_Home.html