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Finding your creative mojo

Finding your creative mojo, is easier said, than done!

How many times do I tell people, that it’s not a switch you just flick on! I mean just writing this piece has taken me getting myself prepared. Just like any athlete – you don’t go straight into the spirit. You need to warm up and get your brain into the zone. The muscles need to be flexed, the body needs to be hydrated and the brain needs to be focused. Doing anything well, needs you to get yourself into a place where you can ‘perform’.

Walk

I will talk about this continuously, but have you yet discovered the power of walking? I’ve known nothing like it. It has single handedly changed my life and I really am not exaggerating. This deserves it’s own post, but I find nothing comes close to helping my creative juices flow, like the vibration of the feet hitting the dust path. One step after another, I can find things becoming clearer. The ‘thinking out of the box’ comes to you, as if the home/office is the box. Maybe that is the way of thinking about things…that whenever you are trying to think differently, look around you and get out of the confines of whatever box you are sitting in.

Sleep

Oh josh, now I am getting going, there are so many things I want to share with you. But, as we all know, or have been told – sleep is our secret weapon! I will also talk more about this and the myths that surround the powerful entrepreneurs and their 4 hours sleep a night! You too can be very successful, but if you sleep, you are weak! Utter bollocks.  How many times have you woken up and solved the issue you couldn’t as you tried to drift off? That’s not coincidence btw, it’s actually science! Sleep restructures new memory representations, meaning we think about experiences in new ways. So, we’ll talk about how to sleep more and how to prioritise sleep, but today we are looking at that ‘creative mojo’ and sleep will help you to solve those blockers. And, if you can’t get the 8 hours, you need to get a power nap. A power nap for the record should be no longer than 40 minutes. This is to stop you going into a ‘deep’ sleep. Power naps are known to stimulate the right side of the brain – the part more responsible for creative thinking.

Sleep appreciation mug by Veronica Dearly

Perfectionism

I’ve yet to meet a small business, who aren’t perfectionists. It comes as part of the territory. I mean, you are the hardest, most bitch like boss anyone could ever have. Nothing is not a priority and similarly 99.9% is not good enough! I mean on a normal day – would you work for this person – NO!

Now listen up, perfectionism kills creativity – full stop! It is better to get stuff out than in. As once it is out, it starts. That can be anything to one stroke of paint on a canvas, to a line on a piece of paper or the first sentence of this blog post. You have to strive for progress, not perfectionism.

I am a perfectionist and it has taken me forever, to let things go – with love! I am now fully aware that actually doing something, with energy and some speed, will get me far further than the procrastination, that perfection allows you think is okay.

I mean, I doubt that Adele gets told to write a song within a diary slot! Now, we might not feel we are yet at Adele’s heavy heights, but you get where I am going with all this.

I am sure we all have our tips and things that help us, but here I’m going to share with you, what’s helped me and what I hear has helped others.

Imagination

 I am lucky enough to be surrounded by the most creative people and so it isn’t long before someone shares something that blows my mind. I have pursued my team, that they need to share what inspires them to the wider group. Watch this space. Anyway, back to the point in hand. A little like our bodies and that expression I hate (because it is true!) ‘you are what you eat’, your imagination is only as good as what you feed it. What have you done lately that actually gets you out of the box? What’s the brain equivalent to a superfood salad to you? It could be giving yourself an hour to watch a TED talk, it could be watching a few Holly & Co stories? Booking a ticket, going shopping in your fav place? Whatever it is, for goodness sake, go do it.

Get Out

When we spend time with people we trust, we tend to have deeper conversations. These chats often lead to creative thinking, why? Because we’re able to be ourselves and talk freely about our passions.

Now this is good news for those who like a tipple or two. In one study, participants who knocked back an average of three drinks were more creative than people who didn’t drink at all.  That’s possibly because a little alcohol lets us think more broadly, finding connections between unrelated ideas.

More often than not, the team and I will get a bottle of wine or two and will allow conversation on a problem flow. 100% of the time, we will come up with the solution. This has happened throughout my career. And actually, the hangover actually has the same effect! I do some of my best work, when not feeling ‘on par’! Obviously, a few too many, will have the opposite effect!  Shot number 5, will not solve your creative block, it will however remind you that you are not in your 20’s and that it is so not cool to sing to the Uber driver!

Day Dream

We’re not at school and we don’t have someone breathing down our necks – do we? Well maybe a furry friend, but they’re not going to have a problem if you zone out for a few minutes. We tend to take a more creative approach to problems when our mind is wandering (less so when we’re hunched over a computer with a deadline looming!).  Why not push it one step further and go for a walk and dream? Go lie down and dream?

Meditate

Okay, so how have I ever got to this place in my life, but I have! I am designing my bedroom right now, a place where I shut out the world. I found myself talking to my builder and asking him to build me a little platform, right next to the window, where the sunlight comes streaming in. “Why do you need this” he asked. I obviously didn’t find myself telling him about how much meditation has helped me when I find myself stuck in a mental rut! Or, when I feel a panic attack striking! “Oh, it’s for my new plasma TV” I said! He nodded with approval that I was building a special space for such a fine piece of equipment! Little did he know, that this special piece of equipment, was my mind.

So, nothing here that is shocking, but all of these things combined have certainly helped me, and others – get into a creative space. Walk, nap, daydream, get out, meditate, ignite the imagination and knock perfectionism on its perfect head.

Creative Juices bottle by Vinegar & Brown paper

Tools that have helped me:

  • Along with most things in my life, my Apple watch tracks my steps
  • The best mediation tool on your phone
  • I track my sleep every night
  • And I get out, to some of the best places. Where I’ve been this month:
    – David Hockney exhibition at the Tate – hurry its closing soon
    – Graphic bar in London – drinks are served in paint tins!
    – Robot exhibition at the Science Museum, great to inspire the next generation – Harry absolutely loved it!

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