There’s a story to be told.
For writers, that is all we know to be certain. As for the details of that story, the bendy plot twists and sensory details of characters we may not have created yet, that is usually an unknown. Until, of course, we are blessed with a moment of pure, delicious inspiration.
Those moments of creative genius are so highly coveted that sometimes people are driven to madness in its pursuit.
To be passionately creative in one instant, and then to feel it leave you like a lover in the night….
Well, that is tragic for any creative that both loves their craft and chooses to dedicate their entire life to it.
So, where does creativity hide?
Elizabeth Gilbert, one of my favorite writers and author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ likes to think of creativity as a muse that visits us from time to time. Therefore, our only duty as writers and painters and innovators is to simply show up for our part of the job.
I love thinking about creativity in this way.
It takes the pressure off. I just need to show up. And sometimes I might get stood up, but at least I have no regrets.
That being said, I can’t help but feel that some people are able to coax their creative muses more often than others. I know a few creatives who simply need a blank page and within minutes, something beautiful and amazing is created out of nothing.
Or is it?
Our most creative works or ideas are usually two unrelated concepts brought together in a fresh and interesting new way. But to witness the occasion where these concepts so vibrantly collide, we had to first gather the concepts in order to make that ultimate connection.
When you think about creativity as a fire that you fuel with experiences and sponge-like interactions with the world, it feels like you have more control over how often that muse comes to visit.
Have you ever noticed how when you focus on a particular issue and shelve it for awhile that sometimes the answer just appears when you least expect it? It’s as if the Universe is trying to tell you something, and for some reason you decided to listen NOW.
This isn’t coincidence.
When you decide to focus on something, your sub psyche goes to work as you stumble about the most benign parts of your day. It illuminates the mundane and obvious in such a way that now you can SEE all the possibilities.
So, what does this have to do with coloring?
Coloring forces you to focus. It deactivates the part of your brain that is dedicated to ‘executive functioning.’ As you color in blocks and shapes, you’re forced to concentrate and operate in that same headspace that allows your sub psyche to go to work.
This is why, as a writer, I love coloring. (Especially this coloring book! It’s filled with GORGEOUS travel pages.)
I find I become my most creative after a good session. When you think about it, obtaining focus is the starting point on a journey to enlightenment. Let me give you an example.
If my mind were a park, I’d start at the gates as a writer. I get to walk around inside the park as a coloring artist. It’s on these walks in the deep crevices of my mind (walks that are guided by some imaginary compass) that I am allowed to explore. I may sit at a park bench and ruminate for a while over problems that have perplexed me. And then, when I’m ready, I can leave the park again as a writer.
So, here is my advice to you: Next time you find yourself chasing a creative muse, stop, walk away and go color.
As silly as it sounds, I can tell you, it works. You must embrace the spontaneity of creativity, create an opening for it to appear, and allow your sub psyche to do its job.
Only then, may you find the answers you seek.