Archive for March, 2007|Monthly archive page

Relaxing into Creativity

We’ve talked a lot lately about things you can do to stimulate your creativity. One of the hardest things about creativity is to let it come naturally – but encourage it to do so! 

Creative Quotes
So you see, imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering. Brenda Ueland  

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things. Ray Douglas Bradbury      

Relaxing into Creativity
Once we’ve started thinking creatively, we need to find a way to get those ideas and expressions going – but often find it very hard to make time to do. 

The secret is often to stop doing just for a little while, either once a week, or daily if you can. We tend to be so busy these days that it’s really difficult to make time for extra activities; this is part of the trick in surprising our creativity. Instead of scheduling a specific time, try to become conscious of when you’re doing something just to fill time. You may find that you do the same kinds of activities here – things that should be fun but really aren’t that rewarding.We always have plenty of things we tell ourselves we should do, but when we’re filling time we’re looking for a break from all that. This is really special time for us, when we’re receptive to something new and our imaginations are actually humming. When you catch yourself in these moments, instead of reaching for the remote, try stopping everything and staring out the window instead, allowing yourself the space to relax and daydream.  

If you have a creative activity on the go, it helps to have your materials close at hand, because after about 5 minutes of daydreaming, I find I remember the ideas I wanted to try out and experiment with, and start wondering how things will turn out if I use orange instead of red, or a high angle instead of a low angle, and so on. Without forcing it, eventually curiosity overcomes daydreaming, and it’s easy to get to work. 

If you’re stuck on how to prompt your creative musing, try focusing on something you’ve recently discovered you’re curious about, or pick an image from the day and think about why it’s important to you. As you float from image to image, you may begin to pick up a story. 

The trick then is to follow it up, so whether you’ve been ruminating over the different kinds of packaging soup comes in, or how your song would sound with a trumpet, go and have a look at the shelves (if you have a camera, take pics!) or spend some time listening to different trumpet sounds and styles. 

This research step fills our imagination with a myriad of new possibilities, all of which we process while we’re busy with the rest of our routine activities. As we digest them, the next unplanned ‘quiet’ time will give us the opportunity to expand and take the next step.  

It’s not a logical, planned process with a clear beginning and end, it’s a route to our intuitive and creative selves, and taking the ‘zen’ step of non-doing is one of the most effective means of getting there.  May your creative musing lead to fascinating new places.