Referring to love, the hook on the song Searching for a Heart by Warren Zevin says, “you can’t start it like a car, you can’t stop it with a gun.” Creativity is the same way. It trickles, moves like a pendulum, can’t be put in storage against future needs, and generally won’t cooperate with your demands.
I’ve known people who swear by rituals, regimes, relaxation techniques, retreats, and of course, those perennial favorites alcohol and drugs. But, unfortunately, what works for one may not work for others. Worse, what works for years may suddenly fail you as you create vapid design after vapid design. And off you go Googling creativity stimulants.
What often works for me is to hie off to an exciting museum exhibit, shops, and bookstores for browsing. Then, I’ll wait until I get home, take out an idea notebook, and scribble down anything that jarred an idea loose. It’s not that I’m looking for things to copy, but that looking at great work, good work, and even junk gets me thinking along the lines of -“why not do this instead?” The time between an idea notebook and workshop can be years. So it’s not like you need to rush off and do it immediately.
I think Raymond Chandler suggested that great stories are distilled, not written.
Creativity works this way; “you can’t start it like a car. You can’t stop it with a gun.”