“Writing isn’t divinely inspired–it’s hard work.”
Inspiration is the catalytic spark needed for most creative plans, pursuits, projects or innovation. Whether it be the apple that fell from the tree that inspired Newton’s theory of gravity, Jimi Hendrix who turned a right hand Stratocaster upside down, as a left hand guitarist, and created a new sound or the story of GoPro founder, Nick Goodman, who wanted to take a picture of himself surfing, but there was no camera able to do this.
Idea ignition is needed for creativity. Spaces, people, places, experiences or a change of scenery often assist in creating new canvasses that help in fueling the creative spark. So, what happens when your surroundings don’t change for a lengthy period, say thirty-five days? Where do we go to “unlock” the magic?
The conscious mind is in control of your awareness of yourself and the world around you and can be compared to short term memory. The subconscious mind includes things that we might not presently be aware of, but that can be pulled into conscious awareness when needed. This can be compared to long term memory. The process is similar to a desk and a filing cabinet, the desk represents what is going on “in the now” while the filing cabinet is where older thoughts and experiences are being kept, the subconscious.
Top sports people will tell you that to achieve the best results they need to perform at a subconscious level. The immediate surroundings and events are often peripheral, as they delve into a deeper level of sub-conscious memory to boost performance. Much like learning to drive is a conscious process, once the basics have been mastered by repeating the process, over and over, it moves to a subconscious process. Where you were once very aware of engaging the clutch, changing gear, releasing the clutch and then accelerating, once you have mastered these individual processes, you simply drive.
Creatives can take a leaf out of this book by moving the process of creativity from the conscious to the subconscious by mastering their art through repetition. Tom Clancy says about writing “a lot of people think [when you write] something mystical happens to you, that maybe the muse kisses you on the ear. But writing isn’t divinely inspired–it’s hard work.” Clancy advises writers to “learn to write the same way you learn to play golf. You do it and keep doing it until you get it right.” By writing and writing Clancy is proposing that the creative process moves to the subconscious mind.
While your conscious surroundings may not change in lockdown and may even become a creative brick wall, you can feed your subconscious with repetition. Books, tutorials, series and on-line literature may be the inspiration for you own “Eureka” moment. Time away from your normal activities can be the opportunity to read that book, watch that movie, paint that picture or write that piece to keep your conscious mind busy, and allow your subconscious to create.