How to overcome lacking creativity

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Yesterday, I was supposed to write a little doo-dad about Sweat Local Columbus, my wife and I’s (<– grammatically correct BTW) fitness journey, and a little more about ourselves for the blog, Columbus Families. The day before, my wife asked me to write it because, well, writing is kind of my thing. This was supposed to be a short piece (not exactly my forte, but not something I should struggled with) and something that would hit home with some of the readers.

So I wrote the piece.

I wrote the piece and it read like a high school essay.

“My name is Ryan Rauch and today I would like to tell you about why I think health is important. Health is important because it gives me the energy I need to accomplish my goals. I also like nutrition. Nutrition, according to wikopedia.com, is the….”

That wasn’t really what I wrote, but it may as well have been. I talked to Kelly on the way home and she told me it was boring and that she’d have to edit it and rewrite it.

It felt like she was spotting me at the gym.

“Here, babe, let me help you pick up that big heavy weight. You just got get a towel and a big drink of water…”

I couldn’t argue with her; I knew it was bad and I know I could do better.

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So I started working through my head as to why I couldn’t come up with anything better than some generic B-copy version of something that, of all things, I really do like and care about. I think it all starts with lacking creativity.

I think most writers probably deal with this on a regular basis. I think that overcoming a lack of creativity has to start with self critiquing oneself (call it soul searching if you want, but don’t allow yourself to excuse anything). It’s basically problem solving, right? The big difference is that I’m not really looking for a solution. Creativity isn’t like math, it’s like science: the solution can always be improved upon and can always be made better.

If I’m honest with myself as a writer, my strength isn’t writing straight forward content. I think the things I like most and I believe that people enjoy about my writing is my ability to write like I think, and to allow my personality to come through in my work. When I try to do something that doesn’t sound like me, it won’t read well to anyone that sees it.

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So here’s my plan.

Step one: write this blog. (Check)

Step two: rewrite the piece for Columbus Families, even if it’s already published (who cares if it doesn’t get published, I am going to write it the way I should have written it the first time)

Step three: celebrate because it’s Friday and I am pouring beer for my favorite brewery at Powell Fest tonight. (because if all else fails, I’ll find a little creativity at the bottom of a double IPA or two)

 

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Cleveland fans don’t really want to win

Cleveland Cavaliers Fans Gather To Watch Game 6 Of NBA Finals Against The Golden State Warriors
Image courtesy of http://www.cheatsheet.com

I’ll preface this by saying I am not a Cleveland sports fan. My wife’s family is, for the most part, Cleveland sports fans, and living in Columbus allows me to have a pretty good understanding of the Cleveland sports fan’s psyche. I, being a huge Detroit Lions fan, have always said that Cleveland and Detroit fans have always been cut from the same cloth since we all understand how to root for a team whose culture is predicated on losing.

Tonight, the Cleveland Cavs will try to avoid going down 0-3 against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. While losing tonight wouldn’t officially eliminate the Cavs, their chances of coming back and winning four games would fall somewhere between my chances of winning a golf medal in the Olympics and zero.

For reference, Cleveland is the only city that has at least three professional sports teams (Indians, Cavs, Browns) that hasn’t won a championship in the last half century. In fact, the last time Cleveland did win a professional sports championship (1964), Lieutenant Dan still had legs and the average home cost less that what most used cars cost today.

Ask any Cavs fan, and they’ll tell you they want to win tonight. They will tell you how starved the city is for a championship and how LeBron winning tonight would validate all sorts of pain and misery the city has gone through over the last 50 years.

But the truth is, deep down, Cleveland fans love the fact that they’re losers (in terms of professional sports teams only). Cleveland loves saying things like “that’s just like the Cavs/Indians/Browns” to do something or other, whether it’s get to the World Series and lose when you had victory in sight, or throw quarterback after quarterback on the field and watch them fail just like the guy before.

Cleveland fans wouldn’t know what to do if the Cavs came back and won the NBA Finals somehow. They’d no longer be able to say their fans deserve a ring, or pity themselves when the Browns lose again because, hey, at least the Cavs won a ring.

I don’t mean to write this as an attack on the city and I hope it isn’t coming across that way. As a Detroit Lions fan, I too can say I identify with a culture of losing. Lions fans love sharing in each other’s misery. And while I’d love a Super Bowl title in Motown, I wouldn’t know what to do once we start losing again.

Basically, Cleveland is the “drunk girl at a party crying about her ex-boyfriend” of the sports world. As soon as that girl finds a stable relationship, she doesn’t seem as interesting.

Cleveland fans love their city, love other Cleveland fans, and love the fact that they can tell other cities fans that “hey, at least you’re not us.” They love celebrating the fact that they can’t win for whatever reason, and I believe they wouldn’t know how to adjust if they ever break the curse.

That said, still rooting for the Cavs tonight!