Sometimes, almost out of nowhere, you come up with a great idea, a unique solution or a fantastic insight. And you ask yourself, why can’t I do that all the time?
As a writer and a poet, this was indeed a question that I asked myself because it seemed extremely important if I was ever going to follow my dreams, to be able to write to a certain standard more or less on demand.
So, I decided to examine the situation I was in very carefully every time I wrote something that I was very pleased with, and I made some simple yet powerful discoveries.
Mostly, the good stuff came in the middle of a sustained period of writing. In other words, it was like I got fit, worked myself up to a level where I was able to perform better.
I found that, almost without fail, I write better when I am happy. Even, or especially, when I am writing about anger, fear, unhappiness or depression. It just goes easier.
I also found that I wrote better if I consistently sat down in the same place, at the same time of day for the same length of time.
There is a consistent length between me being in good health and fit… I write better when I am running, gyming, playing squash or doing some regular physical exercise, eating well and not partying too much.
I also perform better when I have a goal, a project or some kind of structure that gives the days a shape and a direction. This for me is far more effective than waiting for inspiration o strike and then following that, although sometimes it is inspiration which can give a shape.
These 5 tenants have formed my creative life for the last 10 years and resulted in a prodigious output, easily 5 times the output of the ten years before that.
I observed the highly creative people I knew around me and it quickly emerged that many of the most consistently creative had similar habits: they looked after themselves, they were happy when they worked, they had routines and structures and they treated their creative outlet like it was a job.
So, I did some research. It turns out that almost any test you read about creativity, be it neuroscience or psychology, recommends very similar things. It seems there are some very simple, very doable things that can help people tap into their creativity.
Of course, yes, you need skills: analytical skills, physical coordination, mental agility etc. But these can all be acquired through education. What is all too often missing is the link to the action that we take every day… and THAT is The Secret.
Turn up. Every day. Do something. Focus on getting better at it. Don’t worry when it’s not better. Turn up again. Try and try again, keep learning, keep growing, stop putting yourself down. Keep picking yourself up.
And then you too will suddenly regularly be inspired. Whether it is business ideas, systems solutions, programming hacks, art, problem-solving, products, shortcuts, music, dance or anything at all… you will have more ideas, more inspiration and you will become a happier person.
Why? Because you will feel more in control of your purpose.
What are you waiting for? Get started!