Treat Creativity Like It’s Your Job

Training yourself to be Creative

If you’re like me, both creative and hard-working, you find yourself enjoying a well-structured schedule. Creativity isn’t a personality trait. I believe that we all use our brains to problem solve. A creative person is just a person who has the ability to solve a specific problem in a manner which we haven’t seen before. I even think this applies to legendary artists like DaVinci.

One of the biggest struggles that creative people face is a creator’s block. We’ve all been in a situation where you are feeling creative, but have no idea what to do! Whether that be writing, drawing, painting, acting, or dancing, there can be a struggle with creativity. I’ve realized that when I am struggling to find something to write, it’s not that I don’t know how to write or what to write, it’s that I don’t know the problem I am trying to solve. I discovered this insight while I was training to be an actor at university.

I’ve realized that when I am struggling to find something to write, it’s not that I don’t know how to write or what to write, it’s that I don’t know the problem I am trying to solve.

What acting has to do with it

All mainstream modern acting theories are based on one man’s work, and that man is Konstantin Stanislavski. His theories evolved and changed over his life, but there was one that remained consistent. This theory was that each character in the play has an objective, and in each scene, we see how the objective drives the character’s actions. Once we know the objective, we can try different ways of accomplishing that objective in rehearsal.

Now we can take this idea and apply it to other creative acts. You can say to yourself when feeling stuck, “What is the purpose of this article? What am I trying to accomplish with this painting?” Converting our feelings of being stuck into a problem to be solved helps our minds to complete the task.

The Second Thing I learned from Theatre

Make a schedule and stick to it. This is a hard task to achieve but it is so rewarding. What people tend to focus on when saying they create a schedule for writing or being creative is that they set aside time to be creative. That’s great. It’s step one of a two-part problem. The second part of this equation is getting into a state of flow.

When you are setting time aside to be creative, you aren’t just being creative. You are creating a mindset that you can take anywhere and apply to anything. What you’re doing is learning to get into the flow state, and learning to get into the flow state with ease is key to living a productive and meaningful life.

Theatre showed me this because for years through high school and college, I had rehearsal from 6–10 three nights a week or more. That space in my schedule taught me how to enter the creative flow state even after you’ve had a bad day or under imperfect conditions.

What happens when you marry these two things…

Joining these two things is a recipe for success. Or at least, feeling successful. On one hand, you’ve got the ability to break your current framing by looking at the problem through a different lens. On the other hand, you’ve got the ability to enter the flow state. The flow state is associated with living with meaning. But even deeper than that, it provides you with insight. So as you are breaking framing and forming new insights from one part of the equation, you are ideally in a flow state, which means you are able to cognitively process deeper insights. It then makes a feedback loop.

So as you are breaking framing and forming new insights from one part of the equation, you are ideally in a flow state, which means you are able to cognitively process deeper insights.

I say treat creativity like a job because like a job, it requires our full attention and it demands the best of us. When we are being creative, we are solving problems and gaining insight in order to both help the world and help ourselves.

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Matthew David

Matthew David

Philosopher. Writer. Coffee Addict. I write about Philosophy from the Ancient Greeks to Existentialism. https://medium.com/@matthew-david/about ←Learn more here