Inspiration is everywhere. Even in the most mundane of tasks. Today I’m actually not working, and wasn’t planning on blogging, so this will be a quickie, but I got hit with creative inspiration in the most unlikely of tasks. Let me tell you how.
I’ve actually spent most of the day cleaning my house in anticipation of a visit from my lovely parents. I started off thinking I’d whizz around with a duster and the vacuum cleaner, and pretty much leave it at that. But I ended up reorganising a couple of bookshelves, a task which I started a few weeks ago, and really needed to get finished.
In the process, I’ve probably come up with the bare bones of material for at least one workshop (probably two or three) plus I don’t know how many blog articles.
How? Well, because I actually looked at what I have stashed away. Not in detail, because I didn’t want to get too distracted, but just glancing through it woke up my brain, and got my neural pathways working in all sorts of fantastic creative ways.
The beauty of finding things you haven’t looked at in ages (and had probably forgotten about) is that you look at them with new eyes. You can superimpose your life’s experiences since the last time you saw this stuff, and use it in new and interesting ways. It might mean something different now. Maybe now you ‘get’ it in ways you didn’t before.
Now, I hate multitasking, because it totally kills productivity. I’ve written on that subject before. And I am quite vehement on this. But before you accuse me of multitasking, by not focusing fully on my cleaning and organizing task, let me stop you.
This isn’t multitasking. This is opportunistic thinking. I wasn’t being distracted from my cleaning and organizing, as much as keeping my brain open to opportunities. As I sorted through the books and papers, my brain was switched on enough to get inspired by looking at these things, and imagine how I might use them. I just made mental notes that they are there, and to go back to them to work out specifically how I can use them.
There’s a trick to registering your creative impulse, making a mental (or physical) note of your idea, and then focusing right back on the task you were doing in the first place, and NOT getting distracted. I’m allowing myself 20 minutes to scribble and post this blog, as part of that mental note. (Thank goodness I learned to touch type). And then I’m really back to the dusting and vacuuming. My full creative process will have to wait.
So it’s true, inspiration really is everywhere. You just need to keep your brain open to it. But there’s something pretty cool about knowing that a (very dull) cleaning and organizing task can be turned into a creative inspiration exercise, right?
© Liz Wootton, 2013. All Rights Reserved.
Photo courtesy of perfectfridaywine.com