CREATIVE FUEL BY LYDIA LANDWEHR
I need more time to work on my creativity.
I need time to get out sticky notes, to crank out lists of bugs, to practice heuristics, to ideate.
I think, maybe I should take a day to sit down for 10 hours straight and crank out the work. Get it done.
I need to make it happen.
I could be efficient with my time, maybe that would work. I could spend the time at work when my manager isn't around and the work for the day is completed to practice heuristics using a word doc. When I'm babysitting and the kids are occupied, I could get out my laptop and chip away at the ever-growing list of things to do. I could bring my notebook to the dining hall and work while I eat.
Then one day I decide to listen to music on the way to class. A small change, but out of my normal routine nonetheless. I look around at the buildings and the sky instead of down at the sidewalk. My mind wanders to a simple project I have been working on, but always while staring at a computer screen. I allow it to roll around in my head without attempting to push out some result. It's a nice day, not too cold. A song my friend just introduced me to dances in my ears. Unexpectedly a new idea for the project pops into my head that is vastly different from my previous stream of ideas. Interesting. And suddenly the concept of balancing the paradox of routines clicks.
Routines can lead to great efficiency. They are almost a necessity with a busy schedule and an asset in forming good habits, but with an almost identical input every time, I was producing very similar outputs, and with much effort. I was making it happen, but the progress was unimpressive and hard to produce. I was stuck, like a car that had run out of gas.
Different experiences are the fuel that powers creativity. And once you run out of fuel, you will end up doing one of two things: Pushing the vehicle, working much harder and traveling not nearly as far, admiring your meager results with pride in that you "Made It Happen", or sitting in the idle vehicle naively wishing that a freak storm would blow you safely to your destination, with hope in the idea that "Letting It Happen" is the best option.
Making new experiences happen lets creativity happen. So remember to refuel your tank every now and again, even if it’s just by a little bit at a time.