Creativity – the ability to make, cause to be, become or bring into existence.

We all have this ability. It’s not just for writers, artists, musicians and other “creative types.” It doesn’t happen only when you write a poem or paint a picture. Creativity happens anytime you combine ideas in a new way or find a new use for an old or existing idea. It happens when you write a report, a proposal or even a letter. But where does creativity come from? How do you make it happen?

As a composer, teacher and performer of music, I know that you must set aside time to be creative. All the time management books I’ve read agree – creativity comes from discipline. From sitting down everyday at the same time and writing, composing, or doing whatever your project may be. Even if nothing comes at first. The “discipline” is in sitting there anyway because soon the “creative muse” will catch on and realize that THIS is the time to let the creative juices flow.

To perfect any skill, you have to spend time doing it. As an eager piano student long ago and as performer learning a new piece of music, that was an easy thing to do. However, as a composer, I’ve never been able to get myself that disciplined. As a senior in college, though, working on my final project – a children’s musical – I happened across a strategy that worked much better for me. It’s called – taking a nap.

Writing the musical, I’d done the preliminary work – did some research, decided on my story line and had it divided up into logical sections. Now all I needed to do was plug in the notes, right? Right! Unfortunately, about that time I got a bad case of writer’s block that would not go away.

So I decided to take a nap and, the next thing I new, ideas started flowing like crazy! It was great! I ended up writing the whole musical that way. And since then, I’ve continued to use the Nap Technique. It never fails.

But what do you do if you don’t have the luxury of taking a nap? Lots of people have told me they get their best ideas in the shower. That technique works equally well.

So, are you out of luck if you can’t take a nap OR take a shower? Of course not!

I believe that the underlying source of creativity is in our ability to let go – let go of thinking, pushing, forcing, trying to make things happen. Let go of preconceived notions and “supposed to be’s.” Sure, set the parameters – the boundaries – but then, get your logical, editing, left brain out of the way.

The best way to do this is to stop and go do something else - something completely different. Go take a walk, get a drink of water, chat with a co-worker, do some stretches, go to lunch. Take a break! All of these get your conscious mind out of the way so that your unconscious mind can percolate on a solution.

To me, being creative is an awesome responsibility. Because, in order to “make, cause to be, become or bring into existence,” you have to get your personality self – the part of you that likes to control and be in charge – out of the way so that you can open a channel to the Creative Muse. Then when the ideas come, you can step back in and apply your individual, unique skills and talents to the project at hand.

And once you do this, it’s really rather addicting! The painter, Van Gogh, describes it well:
I cannot do without something that is greater than myself, something that is my life – the power to create.

The power to create…. We all have this innate ability. But getting ourselves out of the way and letting it flow is the key to actually being creative.

(c) Copyright 2006, Becky Waters

Author's Bio: 

Becky Waters is a Spiritual Life Coach whose passion is to help her clients move past their fears, discover their true selves, and get on with the passionate pursuit of their dreams. She is co-author of the book, "Success and Happiness: Leading experts reveal their secrets," editor/author of the "TIPs for the Journey" monthly ezine, and composer/creator of numerous guided meditations. Get her free report, "3 Steps to a Better Life Write Now" at www.YourSoulJourneyCoaching.com