I have been thinking a lot about creativity – where it comes from, when it arrives, who delivers it. Starting to sound a lot like an Amazon package, right? But seriously, looking at smart branding campaigns day in and day out has really made me wonder where these magicians come up with this shit.

In The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy writes, “Never ask advice of someone with whom you wouldn’t want to trade places.” Even though I am pretty keen on staying myself, I would ask these wizards for advice any day. And here is what they had to say:

woman listening to music to focus“The best permission you can give yourself is renouncing that creativity has anything to do with you, as in your identity. Knowing it as its own form of energy and treating it as if we are lucky to engage with it when it visits removes the roller coaster highs and lows. I wish I had spent longer being curious about the creativity that visited me than the story in my head of what it meant for my identity.”

Azita Ardakani, Founder and CEO at Lovesocial

“I think there is almost an aspect of silliness when it comes to creativity. You have to be willing to simply let ideas flow whether good, bad or even a little crazy.  Many creative ideas are grown from merely a seed of an idea so it is important to not dismiss any idea or critique it too quickly. Additionally it is important to create the right environment for creativity.  Is not about locking a bunch of people in a boardroom and saying ‘we have to be creative right now.’  Creativity is fun so make sure the environment is fun, welcoming and free-flowing.”

Ben Hordell, Founding Partner at DXagency

“When I start a new project, what helps me is to consider ‘the big picture’ as soon as possible. If I conceive of a small or specific idea initially, I like to then imagine how it could fit into a larger structure down the line — this helps me to more easily formulate other ideas that might fit alongside the first one.”

Haley Shaw, Composer and Producer

man typing and working on creativity“I used to look to the latest AdAge/FastCo article or ‘viral’ hit for creative and professional inspiration, but then realized that my best thinking and ideas come from outside the industry and from trusting my gut. So instead of keeping thousands of tabs refreshing all day long, I’ve been focused on cultivating focus and awareness in my daily life so that I’m more in tune with spontaneous creative bursts (here’s an idea! we should do this!) and less distracted by tweets and texts. In short: short: turn off the phone, cultivate a clearer space and mind through ritual/meditation/silence, and watch the ideas and inspiration pour in.”

Gillea Allison, Director of Community at Blue State Digital Tools

“My ‘special sauce’ for creativity is waking up early with a big cup of coffee and a dose of good luck. I know it’s cliché, but it honestly just strikes at random — and sometimes it really doesn’t. I wish it was something you could just call upon whenever you’d like, but it’s not. However, that does make it all the more exciting. It’s also helpful to be surrounded by other creatives who are feeling positive and excited about what they’re doing.”

Jessica Schiffer, Senior Online Editor at V Magazine.

“I find my creativity by creating rituals for myself. I’ve discovered that the old saying creativity comes within boundaries is true. I meditate for 20 minutes every morning then write in my journal for 10 minutes. I’ve recognized on days I don’t clear my head out from the start, I’m often blocked both in my creativity and in ability to focus on tasks at hand.”

Amy Benziger, Producer (Current Project Here)

put your thoughts on paper for creative boost“Ahhhh creativity…. It can sometimes be so elusive and other times (like in the wee hours of the morning) you can be flowing with ideas. I can’t say I have a specific formula for creativity, but I can say I have some tactics to help encourage it and get those ideas moving: Dive into inspiration and be inspired by others great work; Try clearing your head and thinking of nothing; Put your first thoughts on paper then let it flow from there; Most importantly you don’t have to do it alone – brainstorm with others!”

Kendra Bradley, Brand Strategist and Ideas Architect