Sometimes you have to trick yourself into being creative.
Our best ideas come after we’ve let our guards down, or when our responsible adult minds are looking the other way. Ideas arrive to us by way of magical carrier pigeons right before we fall asleep, while sitting on the airplane gazing out the little window, while pulling weeds or sitting in class or taking out the trash.
We all have a list of “shit that needs to get done today that should’ve been done yesterday.” But in the shower you aren’t expected to deal with that list, at least for that short time, and your idea mind suddenly has some breathing room.
I tricked myself into creativity earlier this week. I was having a miserable time trying to write. I had been working hard on a short story and falling behind my schedule. It was my second bad day in a row (and the guilt is always worse than the original mistake itself). Finally I gave up. I thought, “I’m not going to do this today. It’s no fun anyway. I’ll take the day off and tomorrow I’ll come back to it.” I decided to go outside and read a book instead, and I instantly felt lighter after letting myself off the hook.
Suddenly it was like I had turned a valve, because ideas started coming to me while I was reading. I grabbed my phone to make some notes because I didn’t want to forget my ideas, and before long I was writing.
Once the pressure was off, the fun snuck in.
It was a good trick. But my Ego is an intelligent little shrew, and he surely won’t fall for that one again. I’ll have to come up with something new when he isn’t looking.
Sometimes writing on my phone is better, because it feels less threatening than staring at the MacBook. Sometimes writing in the park helps. Sometimes I play guitar for a few minutes and then jump into it. I don’t know, I’m just a beginner. But my goal is for this year is, every week and every month, increase the minutes throughout each day where I’m capable of accessing that creative mind. Maybe one day I’ll be able turn it off and on without a hiccup. But, for now, I’m not above resorting to tricks.