2020 Creativity Summary – Invaluable Lessons and Takeaways

Welcome to the 2020 creativity summary! 2020 taught us a lot about creativity and gave us even more time to sit all alone and think long and hard about it. Let’s review and internalize the lessons and takeaways learning from the challenges, fears, failures, losses, and stresses of a crazy year.

First, I’ll list a few 2020 creativity challenges. See if you can relate to any of these problems?

2020 Creativity Challenges: (just to name a few)

  • How do I pivot my business?
  • How I entertain my kids all day while stuck at home?
  • What do I do to keep people I love safe?
  • How do I talk to friends and family that have differing views on very emotionally charged things?
  • How do I balance work and parenting?
  • What can I do to make money when I lost my job?
  • How do I survive working from home?
  • How do I build community when I can’t see anyone?

2020 Creativity Solutions

This year was ___________. Feel free to fill in the blank with whatever description fits how you’re feeling. For me, 2020 was both incredibly amazing and impossibly hard.

I feel like I’m on a rollercoaster that I didn’t sign up for. Some moments I have that terrible feeling of fear in the pit of my stomach while other moments I’m joyfully putting my hands up and enjoying the ride. There’s definitely a lesson from 2020 on surrendering and releasing control.

Or let’s be real, we never had control so we are learning to accept our lack of control.

There have been a lot of lessons and takeaways this year, which is what I wrote this 2020 Creativity Summary. I’m sure the discussion is much longer than this one blog post. For now I’d like to start with lessons such as releasing control, trusting the creative path, and being open to creativity.

I hope these 2020 creativity challenges and solutions guide us into 2021 with fresh eyes.

2020 creativity summary

be open to a pivot (and other forms of creativity)

Maybe we should always be open to a pivot. How many of us were forced to think outside the box, try something new, and get creative in 2020? What if we were willing to try something new, even when we didn’t have to?

There’s a certain level of risk involved in creativity because “trying something new” is basically part of the definition. We spend a lot of time trying to replicate what works, after all, why fix what’s not broken. But in doing that, we might be allowing fear or failure win.

If you’re like me, you have a long list of things you want to do. And often it’s easier to start with the safer and more predictable ones, the ones with a high probability of success. Staying in our comfort zone can keep us from living in the creative zone. 

creativity zone

Whatever your 2020 creativity challenge, I’m sure you were pushed to find a solution to a brand new problem that you never expected to have. For us, one main challenge was pivoting out business but this all applies to a variety of challenges.

Did I really not publish my kids book ABCs of Adventure until 2020 because I was too busy and didn’t have time? Maybe, but it was something new and different, something I hadn’t done before, and something I didn’t know would work. Either way, 2020 took away all of our excuses and even gave us a push towards things on our “someday maybe to-do list.”

Which leads me to the next lesson. A big one. A lesson in evaluation priorities and to-do lists.

evaluate priorities and to-do lists

I use trello for my to-do lists. Lists, plural, as in multiple lists. There’s a “to-do this week” list, a “to-do soon” list, and even a “someday maybe” list. I even have separate to-do lists for various projects on various trello boards, some for work some for the house and the kids.

What happened is that over time my to-do list got too long, and we all know that having a realistic to-do list is important. So I decided to prioritize my list and make it more realistic. I decided I needed a to-do list with my top priorities that I could realistically accomplish and actually complete.

Every week I make a new “to-do this week list” typically moving things over from the “to-do soon” list. Sometimes, I actually get to things on the “someday maybe” list but in 2020 that particular list took on a whole new meaning.

If you suddenly find your schedule cleared, your to-do list empty, and your plans washed away, what do you do? You can do anything you want with your time. (Except whatever it is that you had previously planned that’s been COVID cancelled.)

In 2020 many of us lost a lot and therefore found that we had nothing to lose by trying something new, out of the box, or from the depths of our “someday maybe” list.

(Note: This is a fortunate position to be in and I will just quickly note that I’m not trying to ignore that it’s incredibly scary and not possible for everyone. Because we had already been running our business frugally and simply, we happened to have a large emergency fund as well as retained earnings within the business. That, as well as the stimulus, bought us the time to pivot our business.)

what’s important to you?

As we deep dove into our to-do list and our calendar, we found that not all of our priorities were actually what we cared most about. Some of them were the safer options, sometimes financially and sometimes just emotionally. Some of the things that filled our calendar were just out of convenience or obligation and not intentional thought.

Not all of our priorities are actually helping us be creative, some of them are standing in the way.

creativity summary

From a business perspective, I am able to see and prove that we can make money in a variety of ways. We didn’t know what worked and what didn’t until we tried, and we didn’t try until we were forced to.

The question becomes, is your to-do list full of safe, reliable, and predictable tasks? That’s not a bad thing as long as it’s also full of creative, exciting, and joy-inducing things.

Is your calendar full of things that fill you with love, joy, creativity, happiness, and excitement? Or are you too busy doing things our of obligation, commitment, or resignation?

How we spend our time shows what’s important to us and 2020 striped away our excuses and crutches forcing us to evaluate those priorities.

structure and freedom

A big theme for me this year has been a balance of opposites. Can I find both softness and strength? What’s the best way to balance self-care and empathy? Can I grieve what I’ve lost but also celebrate what I’ve gained?

Through the process I’ve discovered the importance of both structure and freedom, especially as it pertains to creativity. Can I build the structure to ensure success while allowing the freedom required to find flow?

Creativity is a practice. You don’t sit on the couch and hope the find a spark of inspiration, you find your way to the drawing board and just start. You need the structure of a practice but the freedom of a supportive environment. Creativity is a path and a journey, not a destination.

Creativity requires both commitment to your craft and a release from expectations or immediate results.

creativity freedom

You need a plan but also enough flexibility to allow flow to take over when it’s ready.

We had many whiteboard meetings this year in which we sat down to “solve the problem of 2020.” That’s a lot of pressure.

brainstorm, just start, or recharge

There’s a reason that during brainstorm sessions you don’t edit, you just write down all of the ideas whether they seem good or bad. Often the bad ideas lead you way beyond the good ones to the truly creative ones. You have to dump your ideas, surrender to the process, and listen to it all for the solution.

And then sometimes you just have to start. Sometimes there’s not a simple guaranteed solution to the problem of 2020 or anything else. You can sit there and wait for an answer that may never come or you can start.

“I don’t know if this is going to work or be worth it, but here goes.”

Or go for a run, take a shower, go to bed and get a full nights sleep. Give your brain the space and freedom to solve the problem. Our brains are good at that.

Which is why we need both structure and freedom to develop our creativity.

2020 creativity summary

2020 creativity solutions

In conclusion, what did we learn from our 2020 creativity summary? Here are my top three lessons and takeaways. Let me know your thoughts!

  1. Staying in our comfort zone can keep us from living in the creative zone.
  2. Not all of our priorities are actually helping us be creative, some of them are standing in the way.
  3. Creativity requires both commitment to your craft (structure) and a release from expectations or immediate results (freedom).

stay in touch

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to join our newsletter below to keep up with fresh content, let us know what you want to hear, and get our free Build Your Life e-guide or the free reclaim creativity guidebook.

Recent Building a Life  posts you might enjoy:

We are Marc and Brenda Bergreen, a husband and wife photography team specializing in outdoor weddings and other adventures. Capturing people in nature and the mountain lifestyle is a passion that became a dream that became a life.

We don’t link to a lot of things but when there are books or gear we love we’ll share it and links to Amazon are affiliate links.

Finally, don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know how we can help! Be sure to follow us (weddings instagram & adventures instagram) and/or like us (facebook) to stay tuned.

In the meantime, remember to…

love adventurously bergreen photography

Similar Posts