Albert Einstein once remarked, “Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else ever thought”. But one can argue that he has not gone through a long-drawn pandemic, where most of us have worked longer hours and taken new decisions from mundane activities to complex business problems. In the last two and half years, we have gone from being locked down in our homes to long queues of vaccines, and then back to locking down again for new variants. Eat, sleep, vaccine, repeat…! We are constantly being bombarded with negative news and events daily. This constant state of worry and uncertainty has become a new normal. This new normal has taken a toll on our collective mindset and depleted our infinite reserves of creativity. It was in mid-October when I looked at my blog archives and realized my mental resources are EMPTY, with nothing left at all. I have gone bankrupt on my creative thoughts. It was at this moment I realized that I should replenish my creative reservoirs. This article deliberates upon five steps that I have taken to regain my creativity since then.
In our industry, ‘downtime’ is sometimes perceived as dirty, while being busy feels like an honour. But the brain, like any other muscle in our body, can suffer exhaustion if overworked. We all know that all work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. I spread my breaks throughout the year. Every season, around the year, is associated with a different shade of nature, and it is fun to experience those. Recently, I visited a village in the Cotswolds. A village built with golden-coloured stone offering a picturesque riverside walk. Even though the trip was small, it had an immense impact on my mood.
It is always a good idea to spend time away from screens. Somewhere outside, somewhere we can get inspired. London has always been one such place for me. The capital is long known for its diversity, culture, new ideas and rich heritage. With globally famous places, the city has quirky surprises also. Street art of Croydon, God’s own junkyard, and Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel, to name a few, are all epitome of creativity. The places are filled with creative energy to stimulate the imaginations. This city never fails to surprise and inspire me.
In the Feb 1996 Wired article, Steve Jobs discusses, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” In other words, creativity is an organic process of connecting experiences. It is worth keeping a track of all the past projects and revisiting them whenever there is a chance. Being a software engineer, I inculcate the habit of keeping track of all my notes, projects, and presentations quite early. I am fond of keeping everything on Github where I can easily revisit my projects and prioritise them whenever I have some downtime. This habit has often surprised me how my own notes can make my mind clearer.
Provoking inspiration powers our creativity, but it is built on habits. Creative rituals can lead you to a path where creativity becomes natural. We have our own triggers, and we must find a ritual that works for us. In my case, it is a morning routine meditation followed by morning pages. Although I must admit that setting a new habit routine needs commitment. My path was not smooth as well, I have been on and off with my morning pages. But for the last few days, I managed to discipline myself to follow the practice. And this article is an outcome of my pages.
Finally, it is natural to have days when you feel worn out. For this, there should be positive acceptance towards having rough days. It is difficult to keep going with our ingenious endeavours when energy well appears depleted. When all your creative tanks are empty, it is completely normal to feel drained. We all have gone through such days. Those are the days of complete rest and staying optimistic.
I want to conclude by saying that the goal is to balance our psyche with our regular day-to-day job. Enjoy 2023 and make it creative. Thanks for reading and wish you a Happy New Year.