I can safely say that I know how to be creative, because I spent twenty years employed as a performance artist. During that time, I created posters, publicity blurbs, props, masks and costumes as well as creating and performing in Visual Theatre performances. Our shows were known for being unique, and now, my writing isn’t like anything else out there either. That’s my qualification for this post and the next two on the same subject.
If you want to be creative or more creative, I think you need to
1. Know what real creativity is – then you know what you’re aiming for.
2. Know where real creativity comes from
3. Learn how to go to that place
4. Learn how to set the creativity flowing
5. Learn how to express what you find there
I’m going to write this as it applies to writing, but the principles apply to any creative field.
1. What is real creativity?
Real creativity is hard to define, so I’m being lazy and telling you what it’s not.
- · taking the elements that you know will work and writing something with all those elements in it.
- · following a successful formula
- · something that arises from the intellect only. Intellect comes in for the expression/refining stage.
Why isn’t this real creativity? Because it comes from the surface of our mind and can be purely derivative, dry and uninspiring. Maybe some people can create something new and exciting by working from the thought level of the mind, but it’s never worked for me, because I can never surprise myself and if I don’t surprise myself, I’ll never surprise my audience. All I can manage working from the intellect as a starting point is a rearrangement of previously existing ideas and that bores me so much that I would never think to impose it on an audience.
2. Where does real creativity come from?
It comes from our mind and heart. Here, consider the word mind to include the heart. Our mind has two aspects – the appearance of mind (ie thoughts and emotions) and the essence of mind. Real creativity comes from the essence of mind, not from our thoughts and emotions. Our thoughts and emotions come from the essence of our mind as well, but if we can access the place from which they spring and open our self to its natural creativity, then we’ll get creativity of the greatest possible depth.
3. How do we get to that place?
First, we have to ask, what is the essence of mind? Because we can’t find it if we don’t know what we’re looking for. Here are some ways to describe it that might help you get the idea.
- · It’s not thoughts and emotions, it’s the clear open space that they come from.
- · It’s beyond the conceptual mind.
- · It’s spacious, clear and responsive
- · It feel great – peaceful, emotionally satisfying and very vibrant.
Second, we have to know where to find it. Put most simply, you can find it in the gap between thoughts.
Third, we have to learn how to find it. There are several ways to go about this and I’ll start with the most simple. For these you need to be relaxed to start with. Choose one and try it.
- · Relax & release your mind.
- · Drop your thoughts, like throwing a stone into a pool.
- · Turn your mind inwards.
- · Let your mind settle.
- · Leave your mind in the gap between your thoughts.
- · Do an activity that takes you away from your thoughts, then just sit in a relaxed way but with a straight spine and simply be.
You might get a taste of a peaceful open state; most likely it won’t last long and that’s okay, just do it again and again. Try different ways and see which one works best for you. Maybe none of them do or maybe they don’t today but they might tomorrow. If your mind is too wild to enter this creative space, check out my next post for other ways.
How do you find your creative space?