Walking A Path Toward Heightened Creativity

My last post about creativity and freeing inhibitions generated some interesting comments and I was intrigued by how we all find different paths into a creative mindset. Is it possible to lead ourselves down that path more often? And is it possible to help direct that path to lead us to an environment more conducive to creativity?

Red evening
photo credit: trekkyandy

Rotating Your Creative Crops

Shortly after my post I came across this one by Cathryn Hrudicka about rotating creative crops. The idea came from an interview Cathryn read describing how Joni Mitchell focused more on different creative pursuits at different points in her artistic life. A time spent more on songwriting followed by a time spent more on painting for instance.

I did something similar a few years back. I spent a year or two of my life putting all of my creative energies into writing. I followed that up with a year of drawing, then a year teaching myself to play guitar, a year focused exclusively on chess, and then back to writing. While I can’t pretend I’ve become wonderfully skilled in all of them, each helped train me in a different aspect of creativity.

Cathryn’s post looks at this creative rotation in a different context. She looks at how this rotation can be applied over a single day or week. Can you lead yourself to a more creative mindset based on the order in which you engage in different creative activities.

I found that when I started with music or movement, the clients seemed to enjoy themselves and open up more, producing a different quality of writing when I later facilitated them in poetry or story writing processes. When I started out with writing, the clients’ work was (as a whole) not as insightful or deep, more stilted, and some clients were unable to write at all.

The article goes into more detail and I encourage you to take a look.

Flexible Schedules For Greater Control

Clocks
photo credit: raindog

One of the things I enjoy most about working for myself is the flexibility you have with your time. People from the outside looking in often interpret that to mean you don’t have to work when you don’t want to, but it’s really about being able to work on different things when you’re best able to work on them.

Sometimes you have no choice, but more often than not you can work on tasks at times when you’ll be most productive at that particular task.

I happen to be writing this post in the afternoon, but in general the afternoon is not the best time for me to write. This post is taking twice as long as it should to complete. My concentration isn’t usually best during the hours between lunch and dinner. Typically I save these hours for busy work that doesn’t require heightened powers of concentration.

Many of us are aware that we do certain things better at certain times, but how many of us think about the sequence of events leading up to a specific task. From the comments on last week’s post I know some of you do. I usually haven’t consider that as much as I probably should, though I have experienced something similar in a somewhat different context.

Have you ever found yourself in a bad mood? You don’t need to answer. We’ve all been there. Something I discovered a long time ago was how you can use music to alter your mood. Say you find yourself angry and aggravated and would prefer to feel calmer. Put on some angry music and play it loud. Then slowly change to less angry music played a little less loud and repeat until you find yourself listening to calm music and a low volume. If you’ve never tired this you’ll be amazed at how your mood changes with the music.

south boulder field
photo credit: charmar

Two Paths To A Creative Environment

While the comments on my last post revealed different roads to creativity, there were two consistent themes.

  1. Encouraging the muse
  2. Removing the editor

I focused on the latter in my previous post, though most of you pointed to the former in helping your creative state.

My own lack of risk taking is due to the editor in me questioning everything and casting doubt. I’ve put in my time encouraging the muse and for me it’s more important to push the editor aside to gain that creative state. You may find the editor is less of an issue and find it’s more important to encourage your muse to make an appearance.

Ultimately both paths are important to fostering creativity and I suspect that who you are as a person affects how far down each path you need to walk to find your ideal moments of creativity.

Have you noticed heightened creativity after engaging in specific activities? Does listening to music make you a better writer or do you find yourself exploring a different side of an idea after a workout? Have you ever analyzed the activities that lead you to being more creative and knowing what they are do you schedule your day and week to make yourself more creative?

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.

4 comments

  1. Hi Steven, I believe everyone has his/her own source of inducing that creating juice in them. It’s a matter of finding the right one. But your post has included very helpful tips in how to find them.

    Great info…

    • Agreed. We all have our paths toward getting the creative juices going. Do you find there’s something particular that helps you get there?

      Even though we all travel our own paths, I think there are a lot of similarities in what we do. The specifics differ, but often the underlying reasons are the same.

  2. Hey Steven-

    Love this perspective: “People from the outside looking in often interpret that to mean you don’t have to work when you don’t want to, but it’s really about being able to work on different things when you’re best able to work on them.”

    And when you’re best able to work on them, the results are at their best.

    • Thanks Mike. I know when I tell some people I work from home they assume that means I don’t work. I’m pretty sure if anything I spend more time working than they do, though.

      It’s true if you can work on things when you’re best able to you get better results.

      Do you find there are certain things you do better at certain times of the day or week?

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