4 rules every creative should know

If you are a creative, I bet you’re familiar with the following scenario.

You’re staring at the screen or blank piece of paper,  but your brain isn’t coming up with the goods. The screen/paper is staring back at you. You hold your head in desperation, even massage it, as if it were Aladdin’s magic lamp! In today’s post, I am sharing with you an epiphany I’ve had about inspiration.


Holding your brain to ransom until inspiration strikes may sound like the best idea, but you see,   there is a better way that has been staring us in the face all along.

Society is now so obsessed with productivity and economy growth that it shoots itself in the foot and encourages everyone to do the same. 

It is common knowledge that we have a work/rest pattern that is essential to follow if we want to operate long term.

Have you pulled an all-nighter, or several in a row? You know that deprived of rest, your body gets slower and slower (then you feel you have to use caffeine to hack it).

I have started working on my now yearly goal to do 100 push ups consecutively. I find I need a rest day after each workout. Otherwise, I don’t recover from aching and/or I don’t do as well the next day.

But it’s not just us humans (and animals) that follow this work/rest pattern.

Even the soil needs rest to allow it to regenerate and yield good crops (hence the now unfortunately defunct practice of fallowing). Otherwise, you keep depleting it until it’s got nothing to give (then you have to pump it with chemicals but that’s another story). So…

Don’t play the intensive farming game with your brain. Go organic.

Rule 1: If your brain isn’t producing anymore, stop! Let it rest.Take a nap.

Rule 2: If you can’t take a nap, perform a task that doesn’t require creativity eg. filing or writing your to do list for tomorrow.

Rule 3Consuming ideas can be as important as producing them.

When the creative well runs dry, you can fill it with other unrelated ideas. Go on Youtube, read a book, browse through Rethinkentrepreneur.com 😉 , dance, sing, do something fun. It may well spark another idea.

Rule 4: If you feel your creative muscle isn’t big enough for the task ahead, exercise it in short sessions (say 30 minutes) rather than long ones. Have as many sessions as you feel comfortable having but always remember rule 1!

To finish off, another little story of mine.

I am a singer/songwriter in my spare time. A few years back, I had no recording gear, no keyboard (although I could play). I stayed for 2 weeks at a friend’s who owns a piano.

I wrote about a dozen songs in that time. Then when I got my own gear and was constantly playing, I wrote much fewer songs.

Can you now see why the difference in results?

At my friend’s, I had a short time to play with so I had to fit in as many small creative chunks as I could without making myself a nuisance or anti-social. I was also looking forward to those sessions.

When I got my own gear, I had no real schedule to play. No limit. So I played way too long.  I played the intensive farming game with my brain!

So what about you?

Are you a creative? Do you have tricks to kick-start your creativity?

Feel free to share them in the comments!

Reflect, Redefine, Rise!


P. S: Didn’t score 25 out of 25 on the quiz? Read my other posts in the “Myth busting” category and see where you fell down.

Then take the quiz again!

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    • Thanks Nanah! Yes I will soon! Is there anything in particular you want me to cover, maybe?

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