Where does your creativity come from?

I remember hearing once that your brain finds inspiration around every 90 minutes — I’m sure that’s a fact. It’s just too bad that 90 minutes doesn’t coincide with me sitting at the computer.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about creativity. I’ve heard from other folks and I’ve experienced it myself, that creativity tends to come at times when we’re least likely to be able to act on it: In the shower, while driving, at the day job, while exercising, etc.

It’s funny how our brains work — how that lovely thing called inspiration or creativity seems to elude us when we most want to use it. I’ve heard it explained that our brains are not fixed on the process, we’re concentrating on driving or working, or whatever and that leaves our subconscious mind free to go wild. Makes sense, doesn’t it? So, where does it all come from? What brings us that “divine inspiration”?

I don’t know about others, but for me, I have consciously given myself permission to be creative. I’ve never had an issue with having ideas or, maybe better put, having snippets of ideas come to mind and worm around a little. What I haven’t been very good at is putting those little mind-worms to good use. THAT, to me is where the actual creativity comes in. Inspiration is what brings me the worms, but the creativity is what allows me to bait that hook and pull in the big fish. Ok, maybe that analogy is a little off.

What I’m trying to say is Creativity (capital C) is one thing, an elusive thing, but Inspiration (capital I) is easier to get ahold of. I can be inspired by a one-off line in a movie or TV show. It takes creativity to make something of it. If I can, that is. It might not work for the current work-in-progress, but it could fit in a future something.

Along these lines, I’ve also realized something about the way my mind works. When I write a first draft, it just doesn’t seem complete. I know I’ll have to go through it three or four more times, maybe more. For instance, I have a short story I’ve written, but it just didn’t feel right at first. I’ve tweaked it and tightened it, but it’s lacked life. So I’ve sat on it for a couple of weeks. Now, here I am two days ago, listening to an audio book on my ride home, and my mind, instead of concentrating on the audio, is thinking about my short story. Suddenly, I see how it can flow better. WTF? I’m thinking to myself – why now of all times? It’s because my subconscious needed the time to knead it a bit. So now I’ll have to go back to that short story and see if I can make it work in a new way.

Our minds work in curious ways, don’t they?

Which brings me to my question for you — what do you do to feed your creativity? What brings you inspiration?

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