Do you know why people have trouble accessing their innate creativity? We’re all born creative, but some lose touch with that faculty, or grow up and have a hard time reaching it. Do you know why? It’s basically because we don’t create the time and space for creativity to flourish.
There are two essential ingredients you need:
- Some solitude – a place to just mull and ruminate, without interruption or distraction.
- Some time – carve out enough commitment-free time to first enter that zone where your mind is able to feel the freedom of its own wandering/wondering and then some additional time to let your creativity do its thing
The third ingredient is a problem to solve. It’s important not to rush the solution or settle for the obvious one. If you want a genuinely original answer, it pays to learn to stick with the problem for as long as you can stand the discomfort of the unresolved, avoiding the trite, clichéd or unoriginal answer, until the good answer – the leap – occurs.
Hard work and diligence is not enough. Grinding it out can give pretty good results, but for the truly creative, imaginative, breakthrough idea to come, you have to have created the time and space for your ideas to percolate within and then be prepared to trust in your subconscious, while it tries to solve the problem you have set for yourself. Lean into it. Let it happen. Let your mind wrestle with the problem until a satisfactory solution occurs.
Solemnity is not required. You probably will get a better answer, or a more creative one, if you are prepared to entertain the improbable, ridiculous, silly, unrealistic and unworkable ideas too. Surprisingly, these modes of thought can often lead you to an entirely doable thing. Rule nothing out until you have to.
There’s more to creativity than slamming yourself violently against your blank canvas, or empty music track, or clean white sheet of word processing virtual paper. Stepping back and letting your thoughts run free, daydreaming, if necessary, can lead you to a better answer than working to a deadline or strict timetable. That’s not to say that the hard work doesn’t matter. It’s just pointing out that there’s more to it than application. You have to work for the inspiration as well. Ironically, the work of bringing forth inspiration feels more like letting go and being a passenger, than a series of methodical steps.
Purposeful procrastination pays dividends. You never know what you’ll come up with if you just permit yourself to do so. It isn’t a race or a competition and there is no finish line. Just be with your ideas, in a state of co-existence and watch what happens.