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How to Cultivate Creativity (Shower Optional)

The warm water rushes over you. You breathe in the steam and decompress from the day and when BAAAMM!

Your next blog post writes itself.

The narrative flows effortlessly in your mind.

You know the post would be a hit with your audience and you try desperately not to forget it before you’re able get to a pen and paper.

But once you’ve hastily toweled off, the words are gone.

This used to happen to me fairly regularly. My brain was in overdrive and it was during the quiet solitude of the shower that my mind opened to untapped thoughts.

But then those rushes of shower-induced creativity have slowed.

Not because I became less creative, but because I developed practices to channel that quiet, passive thought into times that didn’t involve personal hygiene.

And again, about a month ago, the fits of great-ideas-only-in-the-show came again. I was stumped – I thought I had conquered my blank space time conundrum.

I looked around for new strategies.

One coach who had the same issue simply said to take more showers. The part of me that cares about the environment didn’t like that recommendation much.

Another coach suggested to keep a few washable markers in the shower to write the ideas as they come. But that idea didn’t light me and felt like one more item to add to my ever-growing list.

So I refocused on the core of why the shower gets the inspiration going.

Here’s what I found:

  1. Block time on the schedule for intentional blank space.
    For me, that is twice daily walks with Georgie and Leo. Yep, even when it’s hot and humid or the ground is snow covered and the air quite cold. Those walks are shorter but no less sweet for fanning the creative spark.
  1. Don’t rely on memory – take notes when needed.
    Sometimes, I know I won’t be able to write as soon as an idea springs to mind. So I take notes, both on my phone and in my notebook, that leave just enough of the overall theme and structure to remind me when I go back to it at a later time. And typically, this small but important action takes no more than 5 minutes.
  1. Let the creativity flow and flow and flow like a river.
    For the times when I get back from our walks and feel the words or idea there and know I have the time to commit to get it all out, I plunge full force into the creative abyss until I know the thought is out, whether furiously typing away, talking out my thoughts into my phone’s voice recorder or scribbling in a notebook.

I’m still getting back into my blank space practice. A few days in and there’s a noticeably huge difference in my ability to find the stillness.

And if all else fails and the rut is too deep to climb out of, there’s a trip to the store on the horizon for some markers.

What do you do to capture your best ideas? Tell me about it below. I cannot wait to hear your tips and strategies.

4 Comments on “How to Cultivate Creativity (Shower Optional)

Marcus
January 13, 2017 at 4:14 pm

I don’t seem to have a “regular” place or method. Sometimes it’s in the car traveling from one end of the city to the other. I turn the radio off and just drive. It takes about 45 minutes and I do it probably 2-3 times a week.

Sometimes it’s when I’m going to sleep. I’ll lie down and close my eyes, but not feel completely sleepy. My mind will start to make pictures which I can play with and which will lead me to thinking semi-coherently.

Sometimes it’s when I’m in a coffeeshop looking out the window.

The common element seems to be the reduction or elimination of auditory stimulus (though in a coffeeshop, I’m not sure about this). But none of it becomes a new project or something I actually use unless I eventually blurt it out to someone. That seems to be the real magic step for me.

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Lindsay Gomez
January 14, 2017 at 8:15 am

Thanks for sharing your own practices. Just the simple practice of noticing when those times come up and being intentional to put yourself in those situations is a huge step to reinforcing the habit. Have you tried to leave yourself voice notes, through your phone or computer, to get those thoughts recorded? It may help to capture the BIG ideas and go back to them at a later point.

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Katie
January 15, 2017 at 9:39 am

I love this, Lindsay! When I had my son, my blank space time was drastically reduced. It was only recently that I realized how much blank space time I need. So, I’ve started to schedule it in, too. It helps!
I’d like to get better about taking notes. I always think I’ll remember later, but often I don’t… and it’s so frustrating!

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Lindsay Gomez
January 15, 2017 at 10:46 am

Thanks for sharing Katie! For me, I first needed to get the awareness step down and being intentional with my blank space time. Then, I started the second phase of being more diligent with my note taking/thought downloads. Start small and when you have your ‘me’ time, take just 3-5 minutes to jot down whatever ideas have come up for you. The thoughts may go nowhere right now, but they’ll be recorded somewhere for a later date. Good luck with your practice! And if you get stuck, let me know. I’m happy to talk through your process with you.

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