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On Establishing Structure in your Creative Process

I wanted to share with you a few thoughts on spontaneity and structure. I think a lot of creative people are free-spirited and spontaneous. We don’t like to be controlled too much, we need space and freedom to operate. The minute we feel we are being pinned down or put in the corner, that’s a no-go and things switch off for us. 

I think you would agree that that’s the way we operate. But spontaneous and creative people, need the structure that grounds them because otherwise we can just fly and stay on the cloud. But we need also to ground our ideas, and ideally, we operate within a structure that’s flexible enough that enables us to be free and to be creative and to be productive. But that doesn’t control us in a micro way so that it cuts the breath of air.

So how do we create that structure for ourselves, or how do we work with people that give us that structure because they’re just naturally more structured? What has worked for me is to have a project manager who is flexible enough to give space but puts the order around me. At the beginning, I used to give full freedom to people and say, “Okay, you just tell me what I need to do, and I’ll get it done.” But at this point, I feel I still fall off the waggon if that’s the case. So by now, I’ve created my own structure that works for me, and now I can plug people in and say, “Okay, please take care of that, please take care of that.” And I know that that structure is needed for me so they can create it. But it’s the structure that I’ve created. And that’s the structure that gives me the foundation that needs for me to be productive. So I’m consistent, what I bring out into the world.

Maybe it’s not yet perfectly operating in the way that I would like it, but I see that there is already the light at the end of the tunnel of how with time it will evolve so that I’m always bringing new things into the world, and it’s well-organized in the way I roll them out. The way it has worked for me is actually not to let go of that power to create structure for somebody else, but rather figure out what would work for me, map it out, what would need to be in place and who I would need to have around me to support me and to enable me to stick to it. 

But of course, that structure might, will be kind of aligned over time, I mean improved, but it’s the one that functions with the way I like to function. And that is proving now to work. I’m three, four years now into fully have transformed the way I work and doing a completely different thing from what I was previously doing with before, which was running a design agency, and now I’m not doing that.

So I’m doing other things, and I’m functioning in a very different way and I want to structure that, flexible, that keeps me consistent, that’s portable, that’s very important, so I’m not attached to any location, that I can move around, and that structure is still maintained. Therefore, remote way of working with a lot of people works for me perfectly. And then once I land or where I’m in a different location, then I can build the community there.

Structure, routine, in a way, sticking with having your own wheel that you spin, but it’s not blind-minded, it’s actually very well-orchestrated. But that it’s flexible enough that you can change things, and you can be spontaneous and can you let ideas come in. But once you ground them, there is a process that then makes things happen. So I would recommend striving for that if you want to be productive if you want to be creative, and if you want to be consistent in how you function. Creative and spontaneous are great, but if it is chaos, nothing gets done.

And if it is just free-spirited, and I am there, I’m there, and nothing is happening. If that is good for you, great, I’m actually jealous. For me, I need to be productive, I need to create, and otherwise, I feel like I’m not functioning in the way I want to, I’m not playing with the world. There is no exchange. For me, being productive is super important and making things happen is super important.

But being this creative and free-spirited person that I am, I still need a structure that not only grounds me, but actually gives me the processes I need to take ideas out into the world, and that doesn’t lock me in, but actually gives me wings so I can continue the flight, and continue the flight by not being taken down by the storm. Because we are creative people, we can be up here one day and at the bottom the other day. So we need to learn how to maintain a certain level of stability in our flight.

So that’s my message for today. Spontaneity is good, but you need to learn how to work with it if you want to be productive if you want to be producing things, but just saying, “Oh, I’m a spontaneous, creative person,” and that works, great. If that works for you, great. But if chaos is good for you, great. I also had a phase in my life when I was like that until I figured it doesn’t work for me, it’s just not fulfilling. 

If you are ready to take the next step towards getting more structured and getting more productive, yet enabling your creativity to flourish, you need a structure, and you need to create it yourself. Relying on other people only to do it for you is not going to work. You need to figure out what would work for you and put the systems in place. That will enable you to be at your best and to focus on what you can do the best. And then all the other elements are there, either done by other people who are perfect for that, or you put in the tools that would enable you to do it.

You figure this out, that’s also a process. So voilà, put in the structure, and let me know how it goes. If you have any questions, post them in the comments below and let the creativity thrive.