The Many Ways of Creativity or Procrastinating in Circles
There are countless ways to be creative. The problem is though, that there are even more ways to procrastinate. Not being creative is sometimes easier than being creative. And once you try to do one thing, hundreds of ideas come flooding into your brain – for something completely different. To illustrate it better, I will write throughout this text where I take a break to do something else creative. Like I’m about to do, halfway through this very paragraph.
** Written 2K of a short story. **
In this way, I can somehow trick myself and my creativity. I remember at university, when I had to study a lot, I would always excuse myself to clean my flat. It was the only thing I could do that would shut up the guilt-devil when I didn‘t want to study. When I did NaNoWriMo in 2010, I was only working a few hours a week because I had to study for my last big exam. Needless to say that starting NaNo could have been seen as the worst idea ever. On the contrary, for me it worked splendidly. When I didn‘t want to write anymore, I went to study because that didn‘t make me feel guilty. When I was sick of studying, I sat down to write; after all, I wanted to win NaNo too and I had a daily word count to achieve. After a short while I had spiralled myself into a procrastinating perpetual motion machine. In trying to procrastinate from one thing, the only other thing I could do brought me forward as well. So I wasn‘t procrastinating at all anymore, my guilt had been satisfied and I won NaNo and passed my exam.
** Written 500 words for a paper on Intellectual Property Law ***
Needless to say that I do not possess the longest attention span in the world. I am what everyone said Generation Y would grow up to be… at least to some degree. But that is the problem. Between checking one‘s Twitter feed every 5 minutes and twitching at the sound of a new email, it is sometimes hard to be creative. That does not mean it‘s not possible. If it hits me, I can write a couple of thousand words in one go, which usually results in a low where I have to watch a few episodes of TV to charge my batteries. Sometimes I just need a break. The good news is: a break can also consist of doing something else productive. What defines productive is up to you. Whatever makes you feel productive or has an actual result. And as John Lennon once said, “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted”. Now, my brain jumping around between 300 things has actually led to defending procrastination. Super. The point I was trying to make was that creativity and productivity can mean something different for everyone. Some people just want to be creative, some just productive. And some greedy buggers, and I count myself proudly as one of them, want it all. Creative and productive. With a sprinkle of genius.
*** Knitting for two hours ***
Creativity can sometimes work just the same for me. When I‘m sitting in front of a blank piece of paper and I just don‘t get the inspiration, I start cooking. Or I take my camera and go on a photo safari in my neighbourhood. Sometimes it takes nature or the people around you to get inspired. For some people, it helps to watch, look at or read works by other creative people. Luckily, the internet can provide a huge amount of inspiration from creative people. The problem about it is the same thing though. Sometimes it is just too much. I hang around in my usual places online, and unless I actively go out to search for something, I would be inspired by the same people over and over again.
This is why you need to go out. Nature, streets, museums, shops. If you run out of ideas, sometimes just broadening your horizon helps. Look into things you never thought about, have never seen or never knew. Creativity might just find you there.
*** Written 600 words on my doctoral thesis ***
In the short story podcast that I‘m hosting and producing with Mick Bordet—Every Photo Tells…– we try to find inspiration for stories in photographs. Each month we put out a new photo and give the listeners a month to write storied inspired by them. That is the gist of it, but in reality, it goes deeper. All of the photos are also taken by one of us and we have been together when most of them were taken. It started off with us roaming through old photographs for those which could inspire a story. After a while though, we found the photos we had already taken were sometimes a bit too… slick to provoke a story. Now we have changed our point of view. Whenever we are out and about and there is a camera, we are also on the lookout for new EPT photos. Different angles and things that we wouldn‘t have thought about taking a photo of, had it only been for our personal photo album. Like the duck on the wooden plank, which attracted the biggest number and widest range of stories so far.
Go out and look for the duck on the plank, you might find something you never expected.