The Tinderbox:
A Creativity Experience
Creativity Tips
Creativity Tips

Repeated studies have shown that stress can hinder creative activity. Rather than being “open-minded,” flexible, and tolerant, the stressful mind is characterized by constriction. It’s less likely to explore new concepts or pathways, and responds poorly to change. In short, the stressful mind is reluctant to flow, which is an essential quality of creativity.   

So how do we reawaken that flow? It’s a big question, and one whose exploration extends beyond the purpose of this page, but for those seeking a little nudge, here are few tips to help you along the path of creativity.

  • Relax. Just as stress can put a cap on the flow, so too can relaxation set it loose. Studies reveal that a left-brained activity, preceded by five minutes of relaxation or visualization exercises, will become a whole-brain event. Qualities of both brain hemispheres are drawn into a level of communication that produces significant increases in creative results.  
  • Make Mistakes. As Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned creativity expert, says, “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” When you sit down to create, set aside the rules. Give yourself permission to create something unattractive, non-functional, or inappropriate. Only with such permission will you be able to explore beyond the familiar and create something wholly new.

  •  Keep The Goal In Mind. But not in heart. If a specific aim is required of your creativity, let the mind support it by providing definitive structure. Meanwhile, let the heart run wild. As Sean Connery says in Finding Forrester, “The first draft you write with the heart. The second, with your mind.” Both have their function in the creative process- be sure to give each their due.

  •  Sleep On It. Here’s a technique used by inventors when wrestling with a problem: Think. Create. Let go. Wait. In that order. They begin by throwing themselves at the obstacle to their creativity, thinking up every possible solution. They give structure to their ideas with models, notes, mind-maps and other mediums. After giving it their all, they “sleep on it,” or let go of the problem, trusting that its evolution has, somewhere unseen within them, begun its development. In time, the solution is comprehended, sometimes rising abruptly from the furnaces of their creativity fully forged.
  • Have Fun. It sounds cliché, but experts will agree: the imagination is playful by nature. If creativity feels forced, frustrating, or tends to disappoint, chances are you are too focused on the outcome. Let go of the results and give yourself over to the thrill, the robust enjoyment so inherent in creativity, and its essence will be present in the final product.

  • Watch Kids. Just watch them create, and you’ll see why. Their coordination may be off, their technique undeveloped, but they involve themselves fully in the joy of creativity. As a result, they fall in love with everything they create. Do you remember what that was like? That love-affair with creation? Isn’t that really everything we are looking for in art?