Creating Ritual to…Create
Creating Ritual to…Create
Read up on some of your favorite creative types, whether they are artists, writers, or visionaries in business. We’re willing to bet they have a strict routine they work hard to protect. In fact, they likely speak of their routine as if it’s sacred. A ritual, even.
When routine is determined by the individual, it actually bolsters creativity and frees the mind, allowing for those mercurial flashes of inspiration to strike. It also curbs the anxiety that arises when you feel you’ve hit a wall. If you’re continually and methodically plugging away at something, you’ll be able to sleep better. Maybe you did not find the solution today, but you experimented and now have a better notion of what doesn’t work. You’re one step closer to finding the solution.
The trick to developing a manageable routine is discovering when you are at your best creatively and working it into your schedule with your other obligations. Is it early in the morning? Late in the evening? Right after lunch? If your job requires you to be creative and you’re a morning person, talk to your boss or team and see if regular meetings can be moved to the afternoon. If you can’t get anything done in a room with other co-workers, is there a private space you can use for an hour or two in your office?
Business leaders wanting to cultivate creativity in their workspace should be open to their team-members thoughts and ideas. If possible, equip your office with open spaces for collaborative creation and quiet hideaways for intense deep work when it is warranted.
Nobel-prize winning author Toni Morrison discusses the importance of finding the time and place your mind is at its creative peak and developing a ritual to take full advantage of that time:
“...for me this ritual comprises my preparation to enter a space that I can only call nonsecular . . . Writers all devise ways to approach that place where they expect to make the contact, where they become the conduit, or where they engage in this mysterious process.”
Ask your creative team to find the time of day at which their brain is most open “to be the conduit,” as Morrison says. What is the perfect creative space like? A quiet room? An open well-lit space? Is there music in the background? Is it silent? Encourage them to develop a ritual around this time, something to indicate to their body and mind now is the time to create. With practice, this ritual will help them find that inspirational creative space again, almost at will.
For creative directors or product developers who are required to generate ideas and deliverables regularly, developing a ritual is crucial. You’ve likely heard of Steve Jobs’ rigid morning routine which was simply a ritual he developed to access his creative mind. You’ll find countless buzzy headlines about “Why You Should Adopt Steve Jobs Morning Routine,” but the reason so few have found his success is that his ritual was perfectly in tune with his mind and what it needed. (The rest was because…well, Steve Jobs.)
The point here is you’ll probably need to find what works for you, make it sacred, and stick to it as often as you can.
Do Not Discount the Importance of Repetition
Author Haruki Murakami claims it is in fact the repetition itself that allows him to delve deeper into his imagination.
“I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.”
I mesmerize myself. Take note of the active language. In order to attain inspiration, you need to act.