Innovators, renaissance men and women, and artists are some of the most interesting and admired people on the planet. These are people who shunned convention and created something personal that touched the lives of hundreds, thousands, or even millions.
Anyone can be a creator and innovator but where does someone like a Larry Page, a David Mamet, a Wynton Marsalis, a Robert Shapiro—how do these kinds of people find their creative spark?
The good news is that these folks are just like you and me but they know how to ignite their creative spark and harness its power. Here are four ways to help you to find your creative spark.
Take a Shower: A mindless, every day task like a shower, a long drive, or cooking a meal can spur creativity. These easy tasks leave little room for thought and give room for bigger thoughts to appear.
Read and Observe: It’s of the utmost importance to look at other people’s work similar to your own when trying to create. If you’re a writer you read a variety of novels, memoirs, and magazines. If you’re a dancer, you watch the Alvin Ailey Dance troupe or even go to your local dance studio and see what kinds of combinations are being choreographed. By doing this, you’re working as a freelance apprentice and learning your craft the way any great artisan would.
Revisit the Pain: Ever hear the phrase, “Comedy comes from tragedy?” Sometimes it’s okay to revisit a bit of personal or familial pain you’e experienced in the past. It can be therapeutic and cathartic but will also give your creation a real piece of humanity and truthfulness that can be redesigned on an assembly line. Give yourself permission to fully explore your pain and if you need, work with someone who can help you harness the pain and turn it into art.
Eliminate the Distractions: Turn off the phone, shut off the email, and find a time of day that works for you when you’re most creative. If you don’t have time to be creative—put it in your schedule. Make time for it and abide by it at least once a week.
Two ingredients with any creative process or project must always be present.
One, it has to be fun—it can’t be a chore to work creatively, and two, it has to be intriguing—it can’t be something as interesting as watching water drip from the faucet, it has to be something you can’t wait to sink your teeth into!
I hope that helps—now go out there and create! Write a symphony, knit a new scarf, write a new play, and go change the world.
Oh and wondering where part 1 is? Here it is: Part 1