Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

How to

Want your creativity to take flight? Constrain it first.

Create something.

Go ahead, I’ll wait. . .

Having trouble coming up with something?  Why?  I just said, “create something.”  I didn’t give you any crazy rules, or tell you what you had to create, just go and make something.  That should have been easy.

But it’s not.

One of the funny things about creativity is that it functions best when it is all bound up, when it has walls to bang up against, when it has a space that needs to be filled, constraints to keep it in check.

Scientists are so creative because they follow very strict rules

All of the greatest works of creativity in the history of the human race share the same thing– they were brought about under tight constraints.  When NASA was able to rescue the astronauts of Apollo 13, they exhibited unsurpassed creativity in devising a solution that not only kept the astronauts alive, but also returned them safely to Earth.  That type of creativity was made necessary by the VERY strict constraints of not only the limited materials available on a spacecraft, but also the immutable laws of physics.  That’s hefty stuff that forced the NASA scientists to stretch their collective creativity to its very limits.  The goal and the constraints were clearly defined, both forcing and allowing for maximum creativity.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

And so it is with blogging

Every blogger comes to a point where they are not feeling most creative.  Sometimes, you don’t think you can come up with an idea, sometimes, you might not feel like creating anything.  Maybe what you need is the challenge of some self-imposed constraints.

If you want your creativity to shine, put it to the test.  Put some constraints on it.  Try these:

1)  Write 1 post per week about outlining one important aspect of the buying or selling process

2)  Write 1 post per week that highlights a nearby cultural event.

3)  Write 1 post per week that answers a common real estate question.

Hey, look at that, now you’ve got 3 posts a week.  And, on top of that, you’ve got some criteria that will give you something to look for when you need new ideas.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

And if your initial response to #2 is, “but, I don’t have that many nearby cultural events,”  then I say- BS.  Yes you do, you just haven’t been creative enough to seek them out.  You haven’t been creative enough to highlight them.

Despite the way you may feel, you are never in want of new blog post topics or ideas.  It’s just that you haven’t given yourself the structure and constraints necessary to discover those ideas.

Give yourself some boundaries, you may be surprised how creative it makes you.

Written By

I'm a REALTOR, basketball referee, happy husband, and Community Manager (in no particular order). I have a passion for the real estate industry and officiating, a passion that I try to turn into inspiration on my blog, The Real Estate Zebra. I am also the Community Manager at Inman News. When I'm not blogging here on AG or the Zebra, you can usually find me on Twitter.



  1. Gordon Baker

    September 28, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    There are many different topics to write about and we our creativity will expand if stop for a moment and reflect on the different aspects of our lives. I recently did a blog about my son’s swim club that he attends 3 days a week. I had plenty of time to take pictures while I was waiting for his 90 minute practice to end! Or feature your favorite place to eat. Interview business owners. Something not so creative but effective; visit other blogs and see what they’re talking about!

  2. Michael Price

    September 28, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    This is the kind of constructive tutelage that I think your fellow agents can really sink their teeth into when it comes to developing a blogging strategy. You’ve overcome some of the classic objections to blogging in one succinct post. Well done Chico!

  3. Steve Simon

    September 29, 2008 at 7:17 am

    I enjoy reading when someone has accurate substance as the base for their writing!
    Well done…
    I could go on and on about how and where we agree, but this is your post 🙂

  4. Bobby Carroll - Crystal Coast Blog

    September 29, 2008 at 7:35 am


    Spot on post. With so many resources available to RE professionals writing post should be easier than ever. In addition to your ideas for blog post, here are a few more:

    Week 1: Interview the local Chamber of Commerce President – ask “Why the area is so attractive to new businesses?” or Interview your mortgage guy or gal – “Talk about the State of the Mortgage Industry”, Interview the home inspector – “What is the most reoccurring “condition” found during your inspections and how can home sellers avoid them?”

    Week 2: Use your RE License text book for many great post ideas – “Why it is important to have a survey performed” or “What does it mean to enter a fiduciary relationship with a Realtor?”

    Week 3: Conduct a local photo/writing contest on “Name/photograph 3 qualities of your area”. Coordinate with the school principal and appropriate faculty members. Ask students at your local elementary-middle school-high school to compete for prizes for the top 3 entrants and publish their work on your blog.

    Week 4: Interview a past client. Ask them what lesson they learned about the process of buying or selling their home? Ask your client to provide a fellow consumer a “gold nugget” from their experience.

    Use your own comments and write post from them. Take a look at your sent folder in your email client. I’ll bet there are two sent emails waiting to be written from your sent emails. Last but not least, read-read-read. Be inspired by others!

    Keep up the great work!

  5. Jonathan Bentz

    September 29, 2008 at 8:02 am

    Zebra – great post, and I totally agree. I typically blog about topics COMPLETELY unrelated to real estate, but I’ve noticed the same things in myself. Having a clear outline of topics to discuss also gives first time blog readers the knowledge that they can come back to your site at the same time each week for similar content. Magazines do this each month… and blogs really are “of the moment” magazines. Great tip.

  6. Mack

    September 29, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Write about personal experiences in your real estate career. This past weekend I met with a young couple being transfered to Ohio. Unfortunately prior to negotiating the relocation package they utilized the services of an online home valuation tool which provided them with some very inaccurate data. That meeting generated a blog post this morning which I hope shows exactly how I feel about these online tools.

  7. @AustinAaron

    September 29, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Mos def appreciate the tips. I’m not a blogger. I don’t even like writing. So coming up with viable topics in sometimes a challenge. However, one such topic I think everyone could benefit from is writing about “that” house you always drive by and just love. We all have a property we can’t take our eyes off of. Stop by the home one day, knock on the door, present your business card, and ask the owners about the home. Tell them your concept. You just want to write about the uniqueness of the home, what it is about the home that you love, etc… One, you’ll make a new friend. The owner obviously loves the home, so the two of you now have something in common. Two, you’ll now know just about everything you need to know about that home which makes you look like a bad ass when you have clients in the car and you just start rambling on about the architecture of a specific home. Three, you have a new post with rich keywords.

    Next week just repeat week one. Before you know it, you’re a home specialist. Spotlight one home each week. Even if it’s not for sale. In a few months, not only will you know details about several different styles of homes all across your market, but you will have a grip of content for your blog, and maybe even potential clients. I mean, when someone wants to sell their home who better than someone that stopped by their property to learn more just because they “love it”. While at the home, ask for their contact info so that you can “forward the article over” before you publish it. If done correctly, they’ll obviously appreciate your interest, and that’s built-in traffic. Why? Because they’ll tell everyone they know.

  8. Danilo Bogdanovic

    September 29, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Great “back to the basics” post! This is a question often asked by rookie as well as veteran bloggers and your ideas/tips are excellent.

    To add to your suggestions, try reading other blogs and checking out what questions people are asking over at Trulia Voices or other “discussions board” places. A topic or question may pop out at you causing you to say “I should write a blog post about that as it relates to my market!” (Just my .02)

  9. Missy Caulk

    September 29, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Daniel, I have a whole folder of future blog topics. Now to find the time… but I agree it has to resonate in my heart to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.

  10. Brian Block

    September 29, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Daniel, I don’t think I’ve ever run out of topics to post about… but have often run short on time to post all that I want. There are so many resources out there such as your post which provide novice and experienced bloggers alike plenty of guidance and fodder around which to craft their posts.

  11. Kim Wood

    September 29, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    No excuses for a freeze up – like I have all too often 🙂 Thanks for those ideas – and Bobby, aka Real Estate Coach for yours as well.

    Sometimes the topics/posts just flow – and other times they don’t. But I hear everyone saying that, so I know I’m ok 🙂 LOL

  12. Lane Bailey

    September 29, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    When I quit my “real job” (retail management) and started “doing other things” (investing and a few other varied things) before I finally came home to real estate, I was overcome with ideas for businesses. I was free to think… and it was great.

    Now I have comitted to write a post a day on my blog… and I almost always seem to get an idea at crunch time. Those rule make for creativity, both when they are there and when they are gone…

  13. Teresa Boardman

    September 30, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Lists stifle my creativity.

Leave a Reply

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


American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.



Business Marketing

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Blogging has become an essential part of marketing, but it is now so much more than just a broadcasting tool. Let's discuss...

Business Marketing

(MARKETING) With blogging one of the staples of any marketer's toolbox, what are the keys to success in today's business environment?

Business Marketing

(MARKETING NEWS) Being a good steward of the Internet involves answering questions for your potential customers. Doing so gives you exposure and an association...

Social Media

Facebook Notes is being revived as a carbon copy of Medium's blogging platform - will it take off?


The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.