04 Nov how to enter a creative flow
what is flow?
flow is a clear-headed state of being where your ideas spring forth almost effortlessly. although I’ve only recently delved into the concept I think I’ve always experienced moments of flow. times when the words just spill onto the page, or there is a sense of perfection in every paint stroke. I am at peace with the act of creating and the ideas are flowing freely.
the beauty of creative flow is that it is not related to one specific activity, it can be applied to many aspects of your life. the similarities are a meditative focus, where the person is completely submerged in the activity.
why access flow?
why is it practical to bring flow into your everyday life? you’re five times more productive, and you’re going to enjoy what you’re doing a lot more. one study showed that people rated highest their happiness and wellbeing were those who most frequently accessed a state of flow. the other curiosity is that when you are in a state of flow you are not using more of your brain but less of it. the part that is shut off is your inner critic, sense of self and sense of time. this is why the ideas flow so freely, and you experience a sense of timelessness.
how to enter flow
so this is the catch. sounds like a wonderfully divine state of being, but you still have to get there right? like anything it takes time to learn but there are lots of tools available to enter flow and the rewards are infinite.
give yourself time
to find the peace of focus that comes with flow it takes time, it’s good if you can set aside a few distraction-free hours, or at least 60 minutes.
love what you are doing
extrinsic motivation comes from without, maybe it’s what other people are telling you you should do or maybe it’s what you “think” you should. Intrinsic motivation comes from within, it is a far more powerful source of motivation and it comes from love.
focused, without pressure
you don’t want to be bored and you don’t want to be stressed, find something in the middle.
believe in yourself
you’ve found this feeling before, maybe you weren’t even looking for it, but you know what it feels like. focus on this feeling, and remember that you will find it again.
create the right environment
when creating alone I find ways to cultivate the right environment. natural lighting, a cup of mint tea, my dad’s piano playlist.
studies show that flow is more enjoyable when shared with other people, maybe a shared workspace, or a productive coffee shop, or just a few friends who can all create together.
finally a tip from ernest hemingway:
never work until the candle is completely burned out. this way when you come back to your work you will have somewhere to go from.