Creativity does not slap you in the face in a vacuum

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A fire requires heat, fuel and oxygen. Creativity requires purpose, inputs and time. The inputs have to be consumed with some purpose in mind, allowed to mingle and percolate to give you those ‘ah ha’ and ‘huh’ moments (cue a series of eyebrow emojis).


You already consume — food, books, films, TV shows, air when you move, air when you don’t move. But consuming alone doesn’t spark ideas because you need a purpose for them. What questions are you trying to answer? What are other ways of asking the question?


View the question using the lens of some other process you’re familiar with. In salsa, I find that when I receive clear cues from the lead, I am better able to follow. When I hold myself in a consistent, expected state this makes it easier for the lead to direct me. Applied to counselling/coaching, the flow of conversation is smoother when I am clear about my expectations and when I am able to help the client to clarify their position by giving them feedback.

As I have done here, using the metaphor of fire helped me to develop this blog post. I regularly find nuggets of insight when I apply physical mechanics to abstract ideas. For example, during yoga, when I stretch a leg out in a balancing pose, I have to be rooted down with the other. This makes me notice how we need some grounding in self-development, some form of routine, to keep us balanced, whilst we simultaneously stretch our capabilities. What metaphors can you use to look at your problem?


Sometimes you really don’t feel it — the muse has ditched you and you just want to hide under the duvet*. So just walk away. If you can’t leave, cos you’re stuck at work, then go to the loo, wash your hands really slowly and then make a brew. You know you’ve had ‘ah ha’ moments sat on the loo! Wash your hands cos that’s what you do and it’s refreshing. Make a brew cos that just makes good sense. Alternatively, listen to music, have a nap. Sometimes you need inspiration (additional inputs) but sometimes you just need to give things a chance to brew. What are you rushing for?

*I actually did have a nap mid-way through writing this post. It’s March and it’s cold! See, need heat!

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