A personal view on how to spark creativity

As I sit here in  the office and write this, I’m amused that I’m writing a post in a moment in which my creativity is just not there. I’m sitting in my favourite spot of the office, in a corner, looking out of a window, with a cup of tea and a croissant by my side. The perfect image of the creative writer? Not quite.

The everyday setting

I’m distracted by the chatter of my colleagues, who are working in teams around large tables, discussing problems and solutions. I hear notification sounds from smartphones and macbooks, a constant “ding” that interrupts my thoughts. And it’s Friday, it’s been a long week, I’m tired and I just want it to be the weekend. I’m telling you these things to show that one cannot just walk into the office, sit down and be creative, it just doesn’t work, and the more you try the harder it becomes.

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So why am I writing now?

The simple fix

I have discovered a way around the problem of necessary creativity sparks. I actually thought about this post the other day, when I was out riding, lost concentration and started daydreaming…until my horse brought me back to reality by tearing the reins out of my hands to eat some grass (totally not allowed whist we’re out for a walk!). I wasn’t quite daydreaming, my mind had wandered off to work subjects and I though it would be useful to write a post about creativity. When I got home, I wrote a few lines in my notebook, just to remember the subject, and today I chose those lines and sat down to expand them. I’m writing now, but the hard work of finding something interesting to write about has been done already, and it wasn’t at all hard.

I actually thought about this post the other day, when I was out riding, lost concentration and started daydreaming

No apps, no tech – you already have all you need

I often read blog posts with similar titles to this one, that end by suggesting apps to relax, apps to remember things, apps to take notes. My method requires no apps, no internet connection and no technology. Whenever I get a good idea, I’ll store it in my mind (a powerful enough hard disk) and write it down with pen and paper when I get home. I then have a list of good ideas that I can just pick from when I have time to sit down and write something. I get ideas at the oddest times of day, when I’m out for a walk, at 2am when my cat wakes me up, when I’m driving home, when I’m doing the housework. I write these ideas on paper because the very act of writing, rather than typing, helps me remember ideas better. And I just go from there, without worrying about lack of creativity at work. It’s so simple, I’m amazed many people need a load of apps to help them work.

Don’t go looking for ideas, let them come to you

In a way, I’m also luckier than many people. When I want to relax, to let my mind rest, I don’t use calm.com (which I think is a great idea by the way), I just look out of the window, or go for a walk, to live in those wonderful sceneries. Relaxing, looking at something beautiful and letting go of stress are wonderful ways to spark creativity. Many people claim meditation is the only way to relax and let go of stress. In all honesty, I have never managed to meditate, I just get frustrated at trying to block out all the thoughts that constantly spring up in my mind, and it makes me more stressed. So for all you people that are terrible at meditation, like me: it’s enough to relax a bit and use your senses, without trying to do anything!

Try this…

To sum up my personal method of calling on creativity:

  • don’t force it when it won’t come naturally
  • go for a walk, clean the house, cook something nice
  • relax, drink in the landscape and nature around you
  • and always, don’t think about work! let your mind drift…

In a relaxed state of mind, or whilst concentrating on something totally different, ideas will just come of their own accord. Catch them, note them down and use them later!

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