Somewhere along the path to adulthood, many loose their ease with creativity – even to the point of believing they are not creative. I want to emphasize that is only a self-imposed belief and not a reality. You never lose your creativity.
So, why is it such a challenge for adults to be creative? One reason is because life takes over. Adults have a lot on their minds and spend much of their mental energy focusing on day-to-day responsibilities, including solving this problem or that problem. There is very little “open space” to allow the creativity to flow. The first step to recapturing your creative flair is making a commitment to schedule creative time.
With a little planning and a regular schedule that includes creative time, you can get back in touch with that unique part of yourself. I know that scheduling may seem counter-intuitive when it comes to creativity, but scheduling your day gives you more time to relax your mind and be free to enjoy yourself.
Schedule Thinking Time
In a wonderful program titled Lead the Field, Earl Nightingale suggests that you set aside one hour a day for thinking. He encourages you to sit down with a pad, pencil and a cup of coffee in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed and write down your thoughts. Don’t filter or criticize, just write thoughts as they come into your mind – whatever they are. Do this for a few days and then you can focus your thinking a little more by writing down a specific problem, issue, or topic and write your thoughts on that.
This may be difficult at first, because we are programmed to be busy – doing something – and unfortunately we often do not consider “thinking” to be doing something. That is why this exercise is so useful.
This may sound like a strange solution, but once you get in the habit of “thinking” you will be surprised at how effectively the creative side of your brain will kick in. It takes approximately 21 days for a new habit to form, so do not get discouraged. Stay with it! Stick with it for at least a full month. I promise that after a while you will begin to enjoy it; and your brain will begin to move into creative mode much more quickly during your “thinking” sessions.
Schedule Creative Time
When you get to the point that the thinking sessions are going very well, you may want to add a little extra time for creative activities. For example, in addition to your hour of thinking time, set aside 30 minutes a day for painting, drawing, music composition, writing, or any other creative activity.
Let the creative juices flow – your mind will already be working well and this will be the perfect time to move forward creatively. Once again, it may be difficult at first and you may be driven to get back to “work” with the laundry, dishes, paying the bills, etc. As a result, you may accomplish very little, if anything. Then, the same thing happens for the next several days.
Remember – 21 days is the magic time frame for a habit to develop. If you do not falter, you will find one morning that you get lost in the activity and your 30 minutes fly by. The next morning, and the next and the next (you get the picture) you will find that as soon as you go to your chosen spot, the creativity will start pouring out.
This entire process trains your brain that every single day at a certain time you are letting everything else go to clear the mental space for nothing but thinking and creative works. Your brain will get used to working this way every day. It will expect it – maybe even crave it.
This is exactly how the world’s most prolific authors, painters, and others manage to accomplish so much, and you can too. Simply block off time on your calendar for thinking and creativity, and before you know it, you will be able to turn those creative thoughts on and off at will.