I will be the first to admit that I am not always someone who can sum things up simply and quickly for my readers. Instead of writing in broad sweeps, I often get caught in detail. Today, I am going to attempt to keep it simple. So let me know how you think it goes!
One of the things that I have observed as an educator is that we don’t teach students how to be creative. We have not done this because we do not understand it enough to be able to teach to the subject. This is beginning to change, however, and it is a good sign and bodes well for us as creative thinkers. I am going to share with you what I believe are the core issues that are related to being creative.
Create The Right Environment
This is crucial to good creativity. I firmly believe that many people need to create a safe space within which to let their creativity flow. What is so interesting is that sometimes this safe space can be in the middle of a lot of activity. It is often said that there is anonymity in numbers. Sometimes you can be around people while also being alone. Sitting in a coffee shop or in a subway station, you can sometimes feel safe and alone in the ubiquity of the herd. Sometimes, though, people may need to be alone, really alone. This can be your bedroom, or a special place in your home where you have everything you need in order to think. The truth is, the safe place for being creative is more in your head. Find the match for that and you have a big piece of the puzzle. Discover your comfort zone.
In play as in being creative, we have to give ourselves to the moment. If you have ever remember being a child slipping into the world of play, you know just what I am talking about. This is in truth one of the simplest and most basic of states of being. It is funny, too, because we are also the most self-conscious about it. A child, when watched by its parents when at play, will lose its surrender become self-conscious, and will lose, almost instantly, the creative impulse that is found in play. Remember what I said about finding your safe place? This is why. You need a way to surrender to the creative impulse, to loosen up and allow the flow to come. This is something you allow.
When inspiration comes, don’t rationalize the process. Tap that flow, I say. You can always go back and revise writing for grammar or re-work a sketch so it fits into a frame or hangs on a wall. A song can have all the main elements right out of the chute with a few remaining things to clean up or rearrange. Don’t let the craft get in the way of why you are here; play! You can always clean things up later!
The act of surrender is a suspension of expectation. This is why many artists will often say they begin to create without a firm idea of where they want to go. There is a very good reason for this that has more to do with the function of the right brain instead of the linear goal-oriented left brain, but I promised to keep this all short and to the point, didn’t I? We do not find creativity, it finds us. We allow, we surrender. We become available. We do not pursue, it pursues us. Having said this, there are all sorts of combinations possible in this basic impulse. Some create very rational and even stiff controlled work while some are more fluid. These are more related to outcomes and what you choose, later, to control. These are all a matter of choice; do you like writing jazz or do you like writing classical?
Surrender is a simple thing. Its source-point is found in being willing and able to just play. When you do, you are working with the very forces within you that are the leading edge, if not the very experience of inspiration itself. An aperture within you opens, you feel wonderful, and something just flows. The more you attend to it, and the less you seek to control it or tamp it down with fear or any form of uncertainty or feeling of propriety, the more it reveals itself to you. By learning to cultivate this in your life you can be more creative. The great thing about this is that you do not have to be an artist. You only need to be a human being!