Flow by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, “In Positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterised by complete absorpsion in what one does” – Wiki
I am still very much a learner at figuring out my own creative process and how I produce work. One thing I do know is that creatives face various different challenges when it comes to starting a business and working by themselves. Some of these could be mental challenges like limiting mindsets and fear-based thinking. Many creatives struggle with organising their work, thoughts and ideas. A lot of creatives were brought up in environments that did not nourish or challenge their creativity and they were made to feel like outsiders for having non-academic strengths or learning in a different way. Everyone has the capacity to be creative but it is definitely something that you have to work on and figure out all on your own.
1. Get out of your own way: I just discovered the author Steven Pressfield. He was a non-fiction writer who has now written four books on the creative process. In ‘The War Of Art’, he discusses resistance. Resistance to creating is something that creatives will face every single day. He likened it to fighting a battle. Every day we must go to war and fight a battle against our resistance to produce anything.
2. Grab inspiration when it strikes: Creativity doesn’t always happen on a schedule. If you are feeling inspired to write or create something – grab it! Even when it seems like it is at an inconvenient time. Schedule large blocks of creative time on your calendar. Quite often you will need some time at the start to play around and break through any barriers to your work before you can start producing.
3. Stay balanced: I was listening to Tony Robbins the other day and he said that you have to replace all negative addictions with positive addictions. When you find your creative flow it can be very addictive, you will want to work all of the time. This can be detrimental to your health and all other areas of your life. Try and stay balanced to avoid creative burnout.
4. Value downtime: Sometimes you will not feel like you want to create anything and will need a break. There is nothing wrong when this happens – this is life. We can’t always be producing all of the time, sometimes we need time to rest, reflect, take in new inspiration, or just completely clear our mind. Creativity comes in ebbs and flows.
5. Find your flow: Figure out how you work best. Change times, locations, and who you are with! Regularly change it up to keep it interesting for yourself. Everyone will have different times and ways that they work best. Try different things to figure out how to get yourself into that flow state. I watched a day in the life with Tim Ferris awhile ago and he starts writing precisely at 11pm each night with yerba mate tea, and a red wine on a makeshift standing desk. While he writes he also has movies playing in the background on mute and listens to music at the same time. Everyone works in their own unique way!
How do you find your ‘flow’?