Creativity is a Business Skill: An Interview With Jen Bilik of Knock Knock

I'll be honest. I've never considered myself a creative person. Sure, as a kid, I loved to write poetry and make up silly games to play. Throughout high school, I loved planning events and creating catchy names for them, and my favorite class was writing. When I was 22, I wrote my first self-help book and developed a line of products to accompany it.

Even after all of that, I never once considered myself creative. I thought that creative people were the ones who designed, created art, had displays in museums or were featured in history books. My books and products were certainly not a creative masterpiece.

But soon after I wrote my first book, something changed for me. I was able to look at art and creativity in a way I never had before. I was able to see that creativity comes in all forms, whether it be cooking, writing, drawing or even public speaking. All of these things involve creative brainpower.

Another woman and total girl boss, Jen Bilik, founder, owner and overall head honcho of Knock Knock, had a similar journey of unleashing her creative powers.

Jen, like myself, was a writer and editor first and foremost. But this former book editor also had secret arts-and-crafts hobbies dating back to her early years in Berkeley, Calif., quilting with her mother and learning carpentry with her father. After she started working on what would become a few of Knock Knock's inaugural products (the How to Find True Love Poster and the January Card), she taught herself a design program to bring these items to life and realized how much she loved infusing the written word with design. From there, her creative floodgates were opened and she has gone on to have a very successful company--Knock Knock, award-winning purveyor of witty books and gifts. Knock Knock's mission is to create products that bring humor, function, organization, and design to everyday life.

So whether you are a creative professional or someone who thinks they are not creative at all, here are three tips inspired by Jen's wise words to help other creative people channel their passion and skills into something they'll want to share with the world.

1. "What is my creative outlet?"

Creatives typically have a lot on their plates, much of which they piled on themselves. A meeting, a TV show, or a long walk might inspire them to start a project that is completely out of the realm that they specialize in. And sometimes, our involvement in a project changes over time. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It's simply important to know what you do and what you don't do and, most importantly, what makes you happy.

2. "Working harder generally does not take you through a creative block."

Many times we think that we need to work harder to achieve, especially under deadlines. But when it comes to creativity, it's all about flow. Giving your mind a rest, shaking things up and doing something else other than staring at your assignment, can actually unleash many creative juices for you.

3. "Allow yourself to take detours when it doesn't feel like what you're doing is quite right."

A lot of times, as creative beings, we will get an idea and think it is the end all be all. But sometimes, you have to let your product or idea blossom and sometimes that means scraping it all together or working on something else to help you move through and draw inspiration or ideas. This usually allows for better creative freedom so that you can show up fully and flow with your work.