Creativity is something critical for all of us. How many times have I found myself blocked in front of a blank page, not knowing where to begin?
Perhaps you have also encountered that situation where you imagine what you want, to the point of visualizing the finished work. You just don’t know how to get there.
It’s not like that story of Michelangelo, who, when asked how he sculpted his nearly five-meter-high David, simply replied that it was easy, that he spent a good amount of time staring at the block of marble until he saw the man who had slain the giant Goliath in it. Then, all he had to do was pick up his tools and remove everything that wasn’t David. It’s perhaps an artistic case of reverse engineering.
The good news is that we are not Michelangelo. We don’t need to reach that level of hallucination.
But regardless of your profession, at some point, you rely on creativity.
However, ideas don’t fall from the sky or magically appear out of thin air. First and foremost, you need to create an environment for them to flourish and grow.
The fact is that over these years, I’ve realized that intuitively there are ways for us to seek inspiration when it refuses to appear.
Here, I mention eight of them. But, of course, there are many others (by the way, if you know of one, please let me know):
1. Don’t fight with your brain. Creativity is like a tide, it ebbs and flows. It doesn’t announce when it’s going to arrive. It’s not something scheduled. An entrepreneur may expect their employee to perform a task at a certain time of day. But they can’t demand that they have a good idea exactly at 9:12 in the morning. So, stop tormenting yourself and give yourself some time..
2. Go for a walk. Take a walk along the beach, in the park, through the streets for at least half an hour. Taking a breather, changing your environment, even if only for a short time, has a powerful effect on the creative proces.
3. Carry a notepad. Put away your iPhone, your iPad, and other gadgets and have a pencil and paper on hand. Manual sketching, doodling, drawing, jotting down anything that comes to mind, it’s all unique and valuable.
4. Do something similar. We learn by copying others. Copy and replicate the style of an artist or a text from a great writer. See what you can assimilate from there. Starting from what already exists, you can create something new. Few things in this world are truly original.
5. Do something different. If you’re a designer, write a text (I’m providing an example right now). If you’re a writer, a journalist, for instance, create drawings. If you’re a professional in the exact sciences, paint pictures. Explore a less familiar territory in your daily life.
6. Change your environment. Break the monotony of your surroundings by changing the place where you usually work. If it’s at home, try moving to a different room for a while. If your activity is in an office, find another room or desk. Go to a library. Step into a bookstore. Remember, you don’t have to enter a café just to have coffee.
7. Brainstorming. This is already a well-known method for generating ideas. But it works. Just jot down everything that comes to mind, without censorship, without filtering or refining the sketch. Anything goes here. Just knowing that much of what you do will be discarded and thrown away already relieves a lot of pressure to create and produce something final.
8. Keep calm. We live in a world of inputs – there’s so much information entering our heads all the time through WhatsApp, the internet, emails, TV, music, newspapers, advertisements, you name it. It can be overwhelming to find space for creative thinking. That’s why I occasionally disconnect from it all, take a break from the outside world, and meditate in my own inner world. Half an hour of silence is worth its weight in gold.
All of this ends up being actions that, in some way, nourish our brains. Images take shape. We feel inspired. It’s the time when we are finally ready to be brilliant and create something memorable.
The bad news is that we are not Michelangelo.