How To Live A Creative Life And Get More Joy Out Of The Process Too

You can stumble your way through the creative process to live a life full of meaning and fulfillment. In a flash, and at times quite unexpectedly, you can produce your best writing, your most engaging post, a beautiful piece of art, your most focused business idea.

That burst may be serendipitous, but it still doesn’t make the creative process, magic.

Maybe in some brutish way creativity can be forced. For instance, I was talking to a small business owner just last week. She told me that a competitor was moving into the same mall where she had been a tenant for 47 years.

The move would dismantle the attention monopoly she always enjoyed from customers who were either die-hard fans or curious browsers.

Competition forced her to rethink her business model and how she would use design and social media to retell her history and journey. She thought long and hard and came up with a slew of innovative things. Her creative process did not involve a bit of magic.

The Creative Process  Can Be  Flash Or A Slow Burn

In its best iteration, creativity requires that you find ideas and tuck them away one-by-one. This allows them to marinate, build momentum. You can always return to them when the timing is right.

Yet, the recipe for getting the most out of any creative process may not be to think harder but to be open to the process of collecting ideas from many sources, until in flash or a slow burn something original spills from inside you.

Take rapper Kendrick Lamar, my second favourite lyricist after Jay-Z. The 29-year-old once explained how collecting ideas may be the closest thing we have to mastering the slow burn of the creative process.

A Rapper Offers Lessons About The  Creative Process

“I have to make notes because a lot of my inspiration comes from meeting people or going outside the country, or going around the corner of my old neighborhood and talking to a five-year-old little boy. And I have to remember these things,” says Lamar in an interview with GQ magazine.

I have to write them down and then five or three months later, I have to find that same emotion that I felt when I was inspired by it, so I have to dig deep to see what triggered the idea… It comes back because I have key little words that make me realize the exact emotion which drew the inspiration.”

Getting Creative First Starts With A Thought

Lamar’s masterful writing and lyricism represent the alchemy of collection, ideation, and creation. Without this collection and storage of ideas. I wonder if he would be as prolific a writer as he is, capturing the honest hardness of the urban streets as well as the softness of love.

Here is the rapper again…

“Prior to me recording, it’s 70% me just formulating ideas in my mind and 30% just collecting sounds and making sounds, prior to me actually getting in the studio. Then it’s about figuring out which angle I’m going to attack it from. How the listener is going to perceive it.

These are the ideas you’re constantly, constantly thinking about, and it’s not really about going to instrumentals and bringing on beats [from producers], because I feel my greatest knack is for taking cohesive ideas and putting them on wax. So it starts with me first, with my thoughts.”

woman

Lamar’s process settles deep within me because it felt very much like my own process: listening to conversations, remembering peculiar phrasing, writing new ideas in my notebook or IPad, collecting images, and allowing them all to sit there. When the timing is right I  mix them all together, add on layers and new constructs. Something meaningful is always born. Ideas collection sparks my own creativity into a fire.

The 3W’s Needed For The Creative Process To Flourish

I write about creativity a lot. Nothing delights me more than knowing I have built a career as a creative business strategist which just means I use the core principles of creativity to solve problems and build business models.

So yes,  I get Lamar but I also think that once I have these collection of ideas the only way I can get to work on them is when I practice my 3 W’s: Wilt. Wait. Walk.  Let me explain.  

WILT

Wilt represents the deep breaks I need to have in order to be creative. The four-letter word here is REST.

We underestimate how resetting the brain simply by sleeping long and deep helps our subconscious mind repair itself. When I wilt, I take time away from everything: the overload of the day, the challenges I’ve faced, the overactivity of my mind.

By the time I’ve wilted long enough, I have synthesized the ideas I was thinking about and cleaned the windows of my mind.

Creativity and imagination occur when my brain is not stressed. That’s when I can play around successfully with my ideas and create

Wait   

Wait is all about the ability to sit still without distraction and get my mind far away from whatever I was trying to solve or create. I have seen my sister practice this like it was a religion and she has been my greatest teacher with this W.

Whenever she is stuck on something she changes the colour of her hair.  I’m serious, she goes from blond to red, she adds extensions and moves between curly and straight.

Sometimes I think by switching things up so often she is creating a new avatar each time but she also says with each change in style, she has to wait. She sits for the hair colour to set and to braid or add extensions to her hair. As she “waits”, albeit an active waiting, she sorts out new ways to tackle old issues.

Passive waiting or active waiting both help the creative process.

My sister, for example, may get active colouring her hair but my best friend meditates. The goal of passive waiting is for her to put distance between her physical self and her challenges.

Far from being procrastination, waiting represents a calming force, a period to regroup and centre. Having practiced it, I’ve found that waiting allows my mind to think clearly, not work harder.

Walk

Walk refers to the physicality of the human body and the connection between creativity and exercise.

It’s why researchers in a New York Times article noted that out of 79 healthy adults they observed in a study, the ones who had the most original ideas were the ones who recorded a higher degree of activity than the ones who were more sedentary.

It’s why creative people more often than not enjoy walking, exercising. I’ve found that just moving allows my most creative self comes to life.

Together, wilt, wait, walk make a powerful trifecta. Creativity does not get nourished in a stressed and concentrated mind.

It flourishes when the process is made easy by the collection of ideas and is executed when the mind feels open and free.


Judette Coward

A fierce entrepreneur always in high heels, I’m a producer, writer, entrepreneur, educator, digital strategist, and all-around #bossbabe. I dream, do, think and create and joyfully share my offerings with the world
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Judette Coward

A fierce entrepreneur always in high heels, I’m a producer, writer, entrepreneur, educator, digital strategist, and all-around #bossbabe. I dream, do, think and create and joyfully share my offerings with the world

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