The pause or white space for creativity

It seems this making space for creativity message is coming at me from all angles recently.

Today this landed in my inbox. Happy #GratiTuesday! which clearly shows us that our most precious commodity is our lifetime. Feeling the pressure!

Last week I attended a brilliant course called Creativity Wake Up (run by sisters Nina & Celia) where we discussed taking time out to be creative. And choosing to devote some time every day to develop our creativity skillset. And doodling, tinkering, drawing, stretching our creative muscles. As a result I have returned to writing 3 morning stream of consciousness pages. This is something I did many years ago while doing Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way course in London – before marriage and children, when I was an independent young lass with a heart full of dreams. So I have returned to it a bit like returning to a well-liked old habit.

Then yesterday in a Calm daily meditation the concept of the pause in life wherein all magic lies, was the focus. Whether in work, or parenting, or just in the day; stopping, taking a breath and then acting leads to different, and usually better results, than simply acting and reacting.

I also recently listened to a podcast on the same Calm app about Social Media & Screen Addiction by Dr. Adam Alter. It lead me to download an app called Moment – Less phone. More life – which tracks the hours I spend on my device and the number of times I pick up and check my phone. My results were so unbelievable I wanted to discredit them! But it has lead me to be much more mindful about my phone. And also aware of what I am missing out on by picking up my phone – namely open, free space, time for creative thought, eye contact with one of my daughters or husband, or just a non-productive moment in my fairly full life.

And then I came across the TED Talk attached below – How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas (Manoush Zomorodi | TED2017) – which discusses making time and space for creative thoughts by putting the phone down and being bored. That since the uptake of the smartphone, we are more connected, but less able to think an uninterrupted thought, or daydream, or create magic in our minds.

Mark Manson also discusses the impact smartphone tech is having on our minds in his article The Attention Diet in which he strongly supports the need for us to practice concentrating for longer spans of time. He discusses the need for long-form reading – which refers to any medium which provides a longer, deeper exploration of a topic. As opposed to the news snippets, headlines, tweets with which we fill up so much of our time.

I have been reading about and practising my own version of Minimalism for a few years now, and have read about Digital Minimalism – but the idea hadn’t ‘landed’ until now. Along with articles I have read about AI and the human traits required being creativity and problem-solving, I now ‘get’ the idea completely; the link between down time (and phone down time) and creative thought is strong.

I have 2 young girls and when they tell me they are bored I celebrate internally. Sometimes externally I annoyingly tell them that they can then expect their best ideas. I hadn’t however applied any of it to my own life.

It seems the message is coming through loud and clear that it is time for me to put my phone down, to recommit to real life and living in the present, and to start enjoying some original thoughts again. It’s an enticing idea. And the best way for me to go about it will be to set myself some goals or challenges. Because that is the way I am most likely to succeed.

For now I will leave this vid here and will start to work on some setting of simple goals with a view to recouping time in my day. As per the Happy #GratiTuesday! mention above – I had better start taking better care of the time I have.

How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas (Manoush Zomorodi | TED2017)