Procrastination helps keep you creative, but its opposite, the deadly hovering deadline, can do the same. Like the Sword Of Damocles, a seemingly bad threat, wielded properly, can drive you toward your goal. Continue reading
No, I’m not saying procrastination is bad. I’m saying it helps you become more creative.
That’s right, we finally have a reason why you are more creative already! Well, if you procrastinate in the right way, at least. Here’s how procrastinating can help you become a more creative individual, and why it needs to be a certain type of procrastination.
As I mentioned earlier, the problems that hold people back from creativity are all fairly mundane. It’s nothing special. ‘Deep thinking’ is one of those mundane things that can really help you be creative. It refers to consciously focusing on your inner thoughts, as opposed to breezing past them in focus on the next task before you, such as eating that poptart or organizing those magnets.
Bogger Julie McCutchen explains this concept as deep listening, in a guest post about enhancing writing by accessing intuition:
One of the keys to unlocking intuition is deep listening. There are two components of this complete approach:
Outer listening involves listening to the world around you with curiosity about life, people and relationships …
Inner listening requires turning your focus inwards to what is going on deep inside you.
Take a few moments before you write to listen deeply.
Well, duh, you may say. It seems simple, right? But it can have genuinely useful results. It’s a truism because it helps. Truisms are cliched by definition, and can be a problem among advice websites. But with a little deep thought, you can get past the obvious state of a cliche and wheedle your path down to the truth beneath. Reshape it, and you’ve become a true creative.
To be creative, you need to emulate the sports commentator. Why? Here’s Gene Perret, a comedy writer since the 1960s, on the subject:
“I’ve always been fascinated in watching sports on television at how sharp-eyed some of the commentators are. When I watch bowling, I just see the pins “explode.” The commentator, though, tells you exactly where each pin went. When I watch diving, I don’t know how many turns and spins that diver took. My eye can’t follow it. But the commentators know.
It’s not that their eyes are sharper and quicker; it’s just that they know what to look for, how to look for it, and where to look. They’re tuned in to that sport.”
Gene was talking about the importance of tuning in to comedy in order to write it, but the same principle applies to creativity in general. After all, comedy is about creativity: you need to catch the audience off-guard in order to surprise them into laughing, and unexpected connections are the mainstay of creativity. Don’t worry about your quality at first, because it’ll be terrible. But the more you focus on making connections, the better you’ll get at it.
There are certain basic problems in life that everyone tends to face. They seem obvious, yet trip up millions of people all the time. This is particularly true in the realm of creativity, as most people are convinced that they can’t be creative. In reality, they’ve just gotten tripped up on issues that should be clear, but are a little more tough to unearth than people think. Creativity is possible for everyone, and it’s like a muscle. The more you focus on training it, the bigger and better it becomes.
There are several misconceptions about creativity: that it requires special knowledge; that descends on people from above, in a manner similar to Dr. House suddenly realizing the root of his patient’s disease seven minutes before the episode ends; that it alone with bring success in life. In reality, determined people can be creative, and slackers won’t be. Everyone should be at least a little creative. Adding creativity to your interpersonal interactions makes you a fun, engaging personality, and that will help everyone in any walk of life.
I’ll be starting a series of posts here about the problems that keep everyone from being creative. Pay attention to them, and look for them in your life. With a little constant effort, you can be creative, too!