Training Your Creative Self: Five Tips for Ultra-Creativity
Written on the 18 June 2002 by <a href=
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If you knew you could be as creative as you wished, whenever you wished, what could you achieve?
Surprise --- you can be as creative as you want to be. Creativity is a state of consciousness. And here's the best part --- you can access this creative state anytime.
Try modelling those whose creativity you admire. Whether you're a writer or not, you can learn from super-creative Barbara Cartland.
Barbara Cartland, the prolific romance novelist, completed one romance novel a fortnight. She wrote two complete romance novels a month. That's 24 novels each year. She wrote 24 romances a year for many years, as well as writing other books. She was in a perfect partnership with her creative self.
Based on Barbara Cartland's methods, here are five tips for ultra-creativity. They work.
Tip One: Routine acts as a trigger to your creative state
Each afternoon, Barbara sat down on her sofa, covered herself with a rug, and dictated that day's word count to her secretary. The secretary sat on a chair behind Barbara, out of her line of sight.
The key here is that Barbara trained her creativity to perform on command.
Your creative state is a state of consciousness. It's a flow state, that you can trigger at will once you understand what it feels like.
The easiest way to trigger it is via a routine. If you use the same triggers until they become a habit, accessing your creativity will be like throwing a switch.
However, changing consciousness takes a little time. When you change consciousness from wakefulness to sleep for example, as you do each night, it takes you around ten minutes to go from wakefulness to sleep.
Your triggers to changing consciousness to a state of sleep are: showering, putting on your pyjamas, climbing into bed, turning off the light, wriggling until you get comfortable...
It takes around the same ten minutes to change consciousness from your normal busy-busy, slightly anxious, slightly hyper everyday state of conscious, to a creative state.
Takeaway: changing states of consciousness takes ten minutes.
When you know this, you'll stick at tasks which initially seem distasteful just that little bit longer. For example, when I'm walking, I know that at around the ten minute mark, I'll start to enjoy the exercise. I'll have changed my consciousness to an "exercise" state.
What do you hate to do? Or what habit do you want to break? If you're breaking a smoking habit, for example, and you really, really want a cigarette, fight the craving for ten minutes, and it will dissipate.
If you're creating, stick with your creative task for ten minutes. You'll "get in the mood" so to speak, at around ten or eleven minutes.
Tip Two: You can't get there from here
Barbara never set limits on her creativity. She had her routine, and she knew that accessing her creativity was as simple as turning on a tap.
You don't know what you'll produce in a creative state until you produce it. So you get into the creative state by using your triggers, and you start to work --- write, paint, design --- and your creativity surprises you.
But you need to know that your creative inspirations aren't accessible to you in another state. You need to get into the creative state first.
The feelings of: "I'm not creative", "I don't feel in a creative mood", "I'm too tired/ sick/ stressed to work" belong to your normal state of consciousness. Ignore these thoughts, and the feelings of discomfort which accompany them. Then get into your creative state via your triggers, and what you produce will amaze you.
Tip Three: Command your subconscious mind
Whenever she finished a novel, Barbara said that that night she would tell her subconscious mind: "Tomorrow we begin a new book. Get it ready."
The next day, she'd sit on the sofa, cover herself with her rug, and begin to dictate her new book. Yep, as easily as that.
Your subconscious responds to words spoken aloud. So if you want to write an article, tell yourself out loud (in private might be best) "At eight tonight I am writing a new article. Get the idea ready."
Tip Four: Negative thoughts are just thoughts --- replace them with positive feelings
Barbara Cartland understood the value of positive feelings.
Developing the ability to feel positive about yourself starts with recognizing when your thinking is negative.
Thoughts are like waves on the ocean. The ocean produces waves, your mind produces thoughts. Thoughts lead to emotions. You can't stop your thoughts, but you can refuse to buy into them.
Noticing your thoughts, especially recognizing negative thoughts, is a major achievement. It takes a while to realize when you're thinking negatively, because for most of us, negative thinking comes more easily than feeling positive.
When negative thoughts discourage you, replace them with a positive feeling. Think of something you love: going to the movies, pizza, puppies. Think how you feel when you see a puppy.
Encourage that feeling in yourself. When a negative though intrudes, immediately switch to thoughts of a movie, pizza or a puppy, whatever makes you feel good.
Tip Five: Do what you love. It matters
Barbara loved to write romance. That made it easy for her to be creative.
When you enjoy what you're doing, it will come through in your work. Loving what you do helps you to be creative, and ensures that you don't burn out.
Therefore, choose creative work that you enjoy.
Good luck with these techniques. The more of them you can apply each day, the more you'll train yourself to be creative on command.