If you’re a fellow creative, how do you find your “muse” when you’re writing, designing, filming, and so on? Earlier I found myself staring out of the window at a tree, trying to think up some catchy names for burgers to be served in a new local restaurant. And it suddenly occurred to me that I do some interesting things when I am drawing on my creative juices to generate new ideas and copy.
I don’t know about you, but I seem to have my best ideas when I am not at my desk. Usually, it’s when I’m either doing a manual task like cooking, cleaning, driving or taking a shower. Sometimes, I’ve logged out for the day, and I am enjoying a glass of wine, but I can feel my mind still processing the day’s events. And this is why I now give myself a decent time buffer for deadlines, so I can literally sleep on some of my ideas before I deliver a final piece of work to my clients.
Sleep on your ideas
I have discovered that my copywriting is enhanced when I “sleep on it”. According to one psychology study (Dijksterhuis et al., 2009) “sleeping on things” could have some scientific backing. Sleep helps us to “organise our memories” and process information from our day. Our minds are cleared, and we have removed the need for immediate decision making. This study reports that a “period of unconscious thought” allows us to make better decisions – and this does not only apply to sleep.
Apparently “unconscious thought”, where you take some time out from your thoughts while you’re awake, can also help you think clearer. I guess this is why I often have my best ideas standing by the kitchen sink or behind the wheel of a car. I’ve literally put the brakes on my pressing deadline and allowed my thoughts to flow freely. And free thinking leads to creativity, as we all know…
If I’m really stuck for ideas or have “writer’s block”, I go for a walk, and this could just be around the block if I’m tight on time during the day. But my Sunday ‘ritual’ always involves a countryside walk, usually through local woodlands. We’re lucky to have some amazing ancient trees just down the road from our home, and I always feel rejuvenated afterwards. I love being surrounded by old trees!
Surround yourself with greenery
Going back to science for a moment, I was interested to read recently that greenery can also have a positive mental impact on our thinking. Back in March this year, New Scientist reported on “the growing number of psychologists and ecologists studying the effects of nature on people’s mental health and well-being.” Apparently regular exposure to nature could be restorative to people’s thinking, elevate our mood and help to manage stress, depression and anxiety.
Throughout lockdown, I was incredibly thankful that I could enjoy my local outdoor walks and garden, as so many other people were, too. I wonder if taking a walk while surrounded by nature plays a big part in my ideas generation without me even realising this? Moving forwards, perhaps this needs to become more of an intrinsic part of my working week.
Are you a creative, or maybe you work in marketing where there’s a pressure to think up new and exciting campaigns? How do you generate your best ideas for your work? Do you have regular rituals or a useful routine that helps you think creatively? I’d love to hear from you on this topic.
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