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How To Be More Creative Part 4 – Trusting Intuition

creativityThis is part 4 in a series, if you’d like to start at the top with How To Be More Creative, here is:

One of the best discussions  on this blog was during a poll where we discussed how to use our intuition, or whether intuition was even real. We all had different names for it. For some it is a religious prompting. Or a subconscious priming that we can perform on ourselves by the situations we put ourselves into, the books we read, and more.

Some people seem to think that showers or long walks are the key. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard writers say that their best ideas come to them when they’re in the shower or walking.

In any case, my point in this article is to say that, whatever it means to you, I believe in trusting my own intuition or “gut.” Particularly when it comes to my writing. I write compulsively–it reduces the urges of my Tourette’s Syndrome, for one–but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love to do it.

When I look at my personal favorite articles from World’s Strongest Librarian, they are rarely the ones that generated a  huge reader response, although occasionally that has been the case.

My favorite articles are always the ones where the idea just arrives in my head. It makes me smile when I think of it, it makes me smile when I write it, and it makes me smile when it’s done. Most recently this happened with my non-entirely-nonsensical post about how to be a terrible manager.

When I had the idea for that post I was sitting at a red light. And there it was. I knew how the article would go. My lips even started moving–I do talk to myself a lot, doing a lot of my writing while I’m away from the computer–I even made myself laugh a couple of times, long before I was able to type anything.

I have no idea where it came from. I know why I was a terrible manager, but I don’t know why the idea arrived when and where it did. But I didn’t argue, I created something I loved, and whether anyone else cares or ever read it was totally beside the point.

I had the urge. I want to make something. I want to produce. For the sheer joy of it. When I was done, for better or worse, I had created something that did not exist before me. Nobody else could have put the same words together in the same order with the same effect.

I think we’re all entitled to the same creative intuition as the greatest novelists, artists, and musicians. We just have to act when the ideas come. The more urgent something feels to me, the better the writing usually is. And strangely, the most urgent things arrive out of nowhere–I don’t dwell on them until it’s finally time to work. I have the thought and I go.The less thought I put into something, the more creative I can usually be.

Did anyone else care? I don’t know. The point was that I was better when I finished than when I began.

Your turn: artists, creators, geniuses–do you rely on intuition for your creative endeavors? Do you believe in intuition?

Let’s talk:

Josh

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  • John Sifferman October 6, 2010, 6:17 am

    I can relate to this a lot. I get most of my ideas while walking, running, and sometimes during a training session. I’m pretty sure that creativity has been directly linked with physical activity. Perhaps even just a shower is enough for some people… or all the activity they get 🙂

    Most of my favorite, and what I consider top-quality blog posts, are often lengthy diatribes about something I’m passionate about, but most people really don’t think or care about. Those are the posts that take days or weeks to write, and yet still only get a paltry sum of comments.

    It doesn’t matter to me. Part of the reason why I blog is to solidify ideas in my mind, so that they make sense to me, and so that I can succinctly explain them to others in the future. That, and I do love to write.

    Great post, Josh!

  • Dean Jolly October 6, 2010, 8:00 pm

    Intuition, yes I relate to it existing in us all. The more I am un-cluttered by ego, weighing of rules, emotional response the more I can make better use of it. It’s effortless.
    It’s saved my arse, given me breakthroughs without trying.
    To say whether I rely on it, well I don’t have a comment, I haven’t found a way to seperate it, ultimately define it or turn on when I want. Just seems it’s there, somehow I listen to it or not.

  • cinderkeys October 9, 2010, 9:36 pm

    Is intuition allowing the work to go where it wants to go?

    If so, then yes. I believe in intuition.