Whether you are a creative director at an agency, artistic director for theater, painter or home scrapbooker, your creativity is a living, breathing thing. It has a life and it needs to be fed. However, in this age of technology, where everything needs to be designed faster, viewed faster and processed faster, staying creative can become difficult. So, what do we do?
I think for most, if not all, of us the answer is “disconnect.” I don’t mean literally, although that may be what it takes for some. I mean shut down our brains. Give them a rest. Let them rejuvenate. I sometimes forget to do this in my fast-paced, “every moment scheduled” life, and when I do, I pay the price. Fatigue – both physical and creative – can lead to bigger issues like burn-out or even health issues resulting from depression and stress.
I recently read an article “Don’t just do something, sit there” by Richard Watson. In it, he says, “Boredom is beautiful” and “rumination is the prelude to creation.” Boredom allows us time to explore what is stuck in our heads. It gives us the time to process. He goes on to say that “reflection creates clarity which is a prelude to engagement of imagination.” Imagination is something we all need but forget how to tap into. When we were kids and bored we found ways to make something fun out of nothing. We tapped into our imagination and creativity and, more often than not, had some of our favorite adventures. Now, however, we spend so much of our energy filling time we forget to take time to create.
Multi-tasking further kills our ability to explore our deepest thoughts. By filling our down time we starve our creativity of its most essential nutrients. With so much multi-tasking, and over-scheduling we are slowly killing our brains. Constant alertness is stressful to body and mind and it is important to switch off, or at least reduce. Just sit back and enjoy the moment. Don’t fill it.
The challenge is finding how to slow down or even stop altogether. Bill Gates takes a week out of every year with no outside stimuli – no phone, computers or people. Bill Trumpfheller takes off down the Colorado river with no wifi, Mary Correia Moreno reads a book by the pool in Hawaii and I spend some time walking through thunderstorms, or just sitting by a campfire. Whatever it is that forces you to disconnect, whatever it is that gives your mind a rest – do it. You owe it to your creative self.
How do you feed your creativity? Let us know and maybe it will offer a moment of reflection for someone else.