White Rabbit, Black Hat

Conjuring Your Creativity

The creative process: to say it’s elusive is a massive understatement.

At times, when trying to pull the proverbial rabbit from your hat, it can feel like that black, felt abyss is devoid of all whiskery muses. You grasp deeper, strain further, only to graze limp carrot stems and clumps of silver fur.

Where’s the darn rabbit?! Your inner Elmer Fudd is locked and loaded.
But, we all know what his mentality gets us—hair loss, anger issues and comical injuries to boot.

Luckily, there’s a healthier way to tap into this side of yourself. It involves inventing your own process—one that leverages actions (and inactions) that are conducive to creative thinking and conductive of inspirational energy.

Through years of preening and prodding my own conceptual thinking and creative writing skills, I’ve harvested a few golden carrots that rabbits can’t resist. Some may spark new perspectives and help refine your process, too.

1. Embrace Beginner’s Mind

Gracefully resist the urge to kickoff a new project with a research binge. Yes, facts and figures have their place, and will be important later on, but they can easily overwhelm and stifle your initial excitement about a topic. That excitement is what we want to bottle up and share, not drown out with TMI.

Right now, when the subject is fresh, you have a very powerful tool at your disposal: Beginner’s Mind. This means you see all the possibilities and potential, unclouded by expertise. Now, to harness and apply it, start by jotting down your initial impressions or broad ideas. This may be in the form of writing, symbolism, or doodling (which is a powerful way to process your thoughts).

Finally, take your research in stride: make space and let it all sink in. Come back to it with a fresh mind to see how those preliminary ideas couple with educated intel to form a new angle.

2. Close the Door

He’s the lord of horror. Vivid and visceral, he spins words like cobwebs; so thick with dynamic tension they become a living, breathing beast. Even if you’re not writing a foreboding novel, the creative advice Stephen King departs in ‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ is pervasive.

One of my favourite tips is to create with the “door closed”. It’s about gifting yourself the freedom and privacy to get a little messy, to go way outside the realm of what you think you should be doing with those first sketches or drafts. To push things to a place only you will ever see. Then, revise with the “door open”, meaning bring it back to earth, add the constraints you’re dealing with and kill the darlings that don’t work. Do this again and again to continually push your work to a new level.

3. Curiosity is Calling

Did curiosity kill the cat? Or, is it actually the reason he was blessed with nine lives? Questioning the status quo, while exposing yourself to new experiences and perspectives, is essential to personal and professional growth. This comes in many forms, each with impressive, lifelong benefits. Here are just a few suggestions:

4. Nurture your Nature

You’re a human being. Not a human thinking. Not a human doing. Read that again, because I don’t think we hear it enough. In a world that glamourizes go-go-go, the pressure to perform, to always be “on”, is very real. But, it’s not at all natural to our physiology, and in-turn, our creativity suffers. We feel drained.

Your mind, body and heart need space from the hectic hustle. But, only you can make that happen. Right now, you can choose to nurture your nature and harmonize your creative forces. Here are a few of my personal, scientifically proven favourites:

No matter what type of art or expressive medium you pursue, finding methods to conjure your creativity is incredibly important. Because, once you do, you’ll have complete faith and trust in your abilities and talents. And, with that comes confident, courageous strides toward doing work you’re proud of, while shaping a career you love. No lucky rabbit foot required.