The more I read and experience and observe creative people, the more I notice how we get in our own way and limit our creativity by imposing rules about the conditions we require in order to create. We might be convinced we can only create using specific tools or in a certain setting or under certain conditions. Do any of the following requirements sound familiar to you?
I only write well at the coffee shop and using my favorite pen; I only paint well using this brand of paint and this kind of lighting; I only sing well with this particular microphone and my favorite editing program.
I can’t shoot without the right background music; I can’t do comedy unless I drink a few beers first; I can’t do sketches unless I have the perfect paper and my secret recipe chai tea in the magical mug from Bali.
I only work when I have a minimum of three hours uninterrupted time; I only feel creative when I am at a workshop; I only feel like working when I am on a week-long retreat at a spa surrounded by like-minded people. I only create when the moon is blue.
What’s your personally quirky requirement for creating?
Talisman, Ritual, and Structure Support Creativity
Now I would not out and out disregard the idea that a talisman or lucky charm or ritual or mantra or incantation or affirmation can help you feel some control over the situation and help you to proceed with the task at hand feeling more confident than you might otherwise, or that a change of scenery can help you slide your way into that necessary creative trance. I accept that a routine habit and a supportive structure and having the right tools and materials can help us be more consistent in our efforts. I encourage you to experiment with finding what works for you.
Excuse, Reason or Choice: Can’t, Don’t or Won’t Create
But if you find yourself constantly making excuses based on these kinds of external factors, stop and reflect. Be honest with yourself. What’s really going on here?
Where is the line between I can’t, I don’t and I won’t?
Feeling Free to Create
What would happen if you questioned your beliefs about the conditions under which you are able to be creative? Would you have more freedom to create, if you shifted some of those beliefs?
How would that freedom feel?
Never Say Never!
Remember that we are able to grow and change over time. What has been true in the past might not be true now, and it certainly doesn’t have to be true in the future.
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