Creativity Truths Every Freelancer Should Know


It’s the golden standard of freelancing — a holy grail of sorts. . .

We all think that we know what creativity is. It’s the beautiful logo, the smart web design, or the clever prose. Surely, those things are evidence of the creative process at work. But, there is something more to being creative.

What is Creativity?

Creativity is that rare combination of skill and innovation. It’s the ability to look at a blank wall or a dead end and see something else there — something much more meaningful.

Creative people aren’t stopped by obstacles. They don’t know the meaning of the words “it can’t be done.

Four Characteristics of Creativity

What does creativity look like? Here are four characteristics of the creative person:

  1. Persistent — If you look at the history of some of the most creative people in the world you’ll notice one thing about all of them: they never quit. A creative person doesn’t give up.
  2. Unconventional — Creative people are often unconventional. Some may even be described as “eccentric.” They get this label because they don’t do things in the “usual ways.”
  3. Imaginative — A key element of creativity is an active and vivid imagination. A creative person is able to imagine solutions and possibilities that other people cannot see.
  4. Flexible — Creativity demands flexibility. Creative people are usually not bound by rigid rules, expectations, or circumstances. They are able to work around or see past their environment.

How Does One Become Creative?

This post might cause you to wonder, “how does one get creativity?” Or, you might ask, “can one become creative?” These are both good questions.

Many would argue that you can’t get or teach creativity, but that one is born with it. They have a point.

On the hand, many of us live and work in an environment (sometimes even of our own choosing) that does not really foster creativity.

Here are some steps you can take to find your own creativity:

  1. Slow down - As freelancers it seems that we are always in a hurry. If the project isn’t due today, it was due yesterday. Although sometimes creativity is born out of stress, most often it is not. To find your inner creativity, give yourself some extra time.
  2. Allow yourself to dream — Rather than accepting your current circumstances, ask yourself the hard questions like: “what if?” Then, don’t be afraid to answer those same hard questions. Creative people aren’t afraid to answer the difficult questions of life.
  3. Consider alternatives — Our society loves boxes. It’s more efficient to do the same thing the same way every time, but that doesn’t necessarily foster creativity. “Think outside the box” has become a cliché, but it’s a true cliché. Do something different.
  4. Follow your passion — Is there something that you’d rather do more than anything else? Many of us have laid aside our passions to pursue our professions, but the two don’t necessarily need to be separate. Follow your passion and find your creativity.

You may find that you actually have more creativity than you realize.

Are You Creative?

What is the most creative thing that you’ve done? Why do you think that it was creative?

How do you think you could increase or better apply your creativity?

Share your stories in the comments.

Top Image by kaalam


  1. says

    Another refreshing article. I just finished reading ideas on how to break design habits over at Spyre Studios

    I’m also a drummer and I always need to be creative whenever I come up with parts for a song. Being a drummer is a lot like being a designer. You study different drummers and try to borrow some ideas and then build up a new idea by injecting some of your own unique style. Maybe there’s a way I can apply that to web design. :-)

    Thanks for this article Laura.

  2. BebopDesigner says

    What beautiful post! Thanks a million for sharing. I believe that creativity is in essence solving. Regardless of the media, purpose or need, being creative is always solving whatever challenge is put before you. It’s a plus if you have some kind of talent for music, drawing, designing, teaching and even business managing. So in other words, people can be creative in infinite ways.

  3. says

    Very well thought out and written! I design machinery, and part of my job is to be creative. The tough thing is to separate experience from creativity – the more you know, the more “in the box” you might become. People think I am crazy for the off-the-wall things I come up with, but I continue to do it. Thanks!

  4. says

    Only when I dare to dream will I even think of breaking into a new frontier to find a greener pasture. And whenever I’m down and out, I repeat to myself one of these declaration; I act in spite of fear, I act in spite of mood, I am willing to do what’s hard, I do everything 100% etc etc. Is this being creative? To me, it is. It empower me to break out the cage I drew for myself…

    Nice post, Laura.

  5. says

    How I like the post! I’m always drawn to how to be creative posts. The other day, my son’s note books are dog eared. He keeps them in the bag and he takes them so many times in and out and all the books are dog eared.
    So I thought out a different kind of covering. Loose Jacket covering with a thick unbendable polythene sheet. The edges are long to the size of the book. This made my wife and son giggle. But I persisted it should be like that.
    Just sharing it with you! In case you cover any book and want to keep it nice for long days follow this Loose Jacket covering.
    If you want to be creative – be prepared to seem like a fool. Have no egos attached.
    An inspiring post Laura!

  6. says

    ” Persistent — If you look at the history of some of the most creative people in the world you’ll notice one thing about all of them: they never quit. A creative person doesn’t give up. ”

    That’s the answer in my opinion. More than once I’ve had someone ask for something to be designed in 2-3 hours, even less, believing my creativity allows me to whip up some fantastic idea in no time.

    Having an good idea and then grinding it out is what makes good design, in my opinion anyway.

  7. says

    Nice article.

    I suggest reading ‘Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step’ by Edward de Bono, where the author describes how any one with a mind can develop creativity.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>