Every thinker is unique. Still, I’d like to introduce you to four creativity styles. You’ll likely find that one (or possibly two) of these personalities fits you best. The point of taking the quiz and exploring your creative style isn’t to stuff yourself into a limiting box, but rather to understand why some strategies work better for you than others
We’re moving on to the second of the four creative styles: The Architect.
Today, let’s talk about the Architect.
If you have an eye for detail and find it easy to roll up your sleeves and work step-by-step through a project once you have a starting place, you have the mind of an Architect. Every detail is important to the Architect.
An Architect’s Strengths:
- Details are a breeze for you.
- Your thinking is structured and you can break projects into step-by-step action.
- You are a strong planner and complete projects on track and on time.
An Architect’s Weaknesses:
- The big picture can be difficult to see.
- Once a plan is in place, it can be difficult to redirect when obstacles arise.
- Starting can be a challenge if you can’t see the best starting place.
Here are some structured strategies that tend to work well for Architects.
At the Start of a Project:
- Skeleton the Project in Lists.
List the elements of the project as categories. Then, use each category to make a sub-list. Keep breaking down, adding to, and reorganizing your lists until you have built a solid structure for the project.
- Use a Well-Known Structure.
Rather than facing a blank page, use a well-known structure to start your planning process. Designing a product? Use the design thinking model. Creating a novel? Use the Hero’s Journey framework. Research a structure that has worked for others, and begin your building process from this tried-and-true starting point.
- Create an Outline with Due Dates
Title each chapter, section or stage of your project. Create a bulleted list under each title to explain the basics of what that section of the project will hold. Then, create a timeline that feels realistic and motivating with due dates. Then, as you draft, use the outline as a checklist. Don’t be afraid to revise it as you go!
- Starting and Ending Rituals
Drafting can be messy and difficult for Architects. Help your mind ease into this free-thinking space by creating a three-step process for starting your writing sessions and for ending them. Consider setting a timer and working for a set amount of time, too.
- Use a “Fix-It” List
Read through the entire manuscript and note the elements that should be addressed. Before revising, sort your list so you can work on related issues at the same time, and in the order that makes the most sense.
- Choose a Revision Focus
Rather than allowing yourself to deal with all of the details at once, use your laser focus to look at one element at a time. Character, plot, dialogue, setting and word choice are all elements you may want to look at, one at a time.
When You Feel Stuck:
- Working/Not Working List
When too many problems pile up, you may find yourself lost in the details. Pull back and make two lists. What’s working? What’s not working? Look over these lists and see if the fresh perspective gives you a new shortcut around the problem.
- Fill Up Your Creative Tank
Ideas need fuel. If you feel stuck, wander around a museum, a park or a farmer’s market. Places with interesting sounds, smells, tastes, textures, and shapes are particularly useful for stocking up your creative tank.
But don’t get too comfortable! That’s how creative ruts happen. You’ll want to also try on other creative styles every once in a while to shake things up.
Try On Other Styles:
An Architect is similar to a Special Agent in that they both think in a structured way. However, the Special Agent thinks more holistically and sees the whole picture rather than the details. If you start to lose your way while you’re wading through details, try on the Special Agent’s hat. Imagine you are using a zoom lens, and zoom back from your details to the larger picture. If you have an outline or a checklist, consult this document and let yourself consider the full project. Then, use your analytical thinking skills to prioritize details and let go of the ones that may not matter at the moment.
Like Architects, Collaborators are detail oriented. Collaborators need to think about the details in order to work well with others. Collaborators tend to take a more playful approach than Architects, however. If you’re feeling stuck, you might want to pair up with a Collaborator and brainstorm solutions. Consider your own strengths and how you might use the expertise of others to move the project forward. You might need an advisor, a peer, or an expert to help you out. If you’re finishing up a book, for instance, and images aren’t your thing, you might want to work with someone with a knack for drawing or design to help you make the project all it can be.
The Architect has a structured attention to detail, a thinking style that is the Inventor’s opposite. However, even Architects can benefit from loosening up and trying a more playful approach. Try a very loose game of “What If…” Explore the possibilities without worrying about what will work best. Once you have a list, go back and highlight options and ideas that seem most workable.
So what do you think?
Are you an Architect? If you haven’t yet, we encourage you to take our creative styles quiz to learn more about the way you think. We’ll also send you an Inklings Starter Kit with more strategies and ideas to help you play to your unique strengths.