Ever had this happen?
You’re trying really hard to create something but end up staring at a blank screen trying to figure it out? Or you start typing and what comes out is turgid drivel.
This happens to me a lot to me with poetry and creative writing.
Then later when I‘m in the shower or taking a walk the solution hits me. A creative spark, seemingly out of the blue.
The creative pause
This has happened to me so many times that I’ve actually begun to realise that these seemingly magic moments of epiphany aren’t actually out of the blue at all. That in fact I can create the environment for them to happen.
So I’ve now started to build conscious downtime into my creative process.
The term creative pause was thought to have been first coined by Professor Edward de Bono, an expert on creative thinking and the human brain. Since then lots of other clever creative types have noticed this type of approach to projects working for them, too.
Writer and historian Professor Lajos Székely described a creative pause as “…the time interval which begins when the thinker interrupts conscious preoccupation with an unsolved problem, and ends when the solution to the problem unexpectedly appears in consciousness.”
Adjusting your process
Next time try this simple, two-step process:
- Do your research. Find the information you need and fill your head with the background information or the details of the problem you’re trying to solve.
2) Do something else. Don’t see this as a cop out but as a vital part of the creative process. Of freeing your mind to do the work for you.
Finding your creative win space
I’m going to call this new found freedom your creative win space (catchy, huh?)
Cameron Moll makes a compelling case for showering and concludes that what’s needed is:
- a changed environment
- minimal distractions, particularly noise
- the body is engaged in something mundane or repetitive.
I think he’s got it spot on.
I’m a cold water swimmer so often a swim is just the thing I need to take a pause. Yours might be exercise, yoga, cleaning or gardening. You want to get to the point where you’re not consciously thinking about the thing you’re actually trying to do. You need to leave room for thoughts but not think about having them.
Try it – and let me know where you find your creative win space…