Igniting the Creative Engine

Let us talk about about inspiring, coaxing art from the heart, shall we?
Art in the form of written literary expression. 

You might wonder why talk about a topic so self-indulgent when the world is reeling under so many tough challenges.
Well, art can not only soothe and ease the mind, but change our perspective, calm the inner turmoil during these times of social distancing, precautionary measures and unease.

It can help unlock the door to a solitary pursuit that can plunge us into a state of serenity.
Creative expressions can serve as an outlet for all those thoughts churning within.

How many of us have fond memories of certain childhood moments?
Not just the scene, the emotions, feelings, actions, the antics but the thoughts that drove those actions and the imagination, the intense curiousity, being able to view the world from a completely different perspective and multi-colored lens. A time when listening to the whims of the heart was the norm rather than the exception.

Sitting on a branch of a tree to read books or making patterns or writing on the sand, collecting sea shells, watching the stars and the moon, doodling, going for a ride on a swing, skating, gazing at the clouds, observing the greenery.

Everything was a sensory experience that engaged the senses of sight, touch, hearing, sound, smell and feeling, isn’t it?. 

And it filled our days with wonder, curiousity, learning and joy. Remember?
It was a time when imagination was at its peak, free flowing. And imagination such as that is the pre-requisite to creativity.
While the childhood years were fleeting, childlike imagination lies within still intact, though more mellowed down and bound by the cares and responsibilities of the adult world.
So time to fuel that imagination and make it as vibrant as possible. 
How to get started? Time is of essence..
A sacred time to set apart when we can leave behind the incessant adult worries, endless daily thoughts.
A time to day dream or read, or take a leisurely walk, or sip a cup of steaming hot tea or coffee…uninterrupted.
Yes, set aside a time, even a few mins when you are not accountable to anyone, even yourself.
Begin by observing. 
Be it a butterfly flapping its wings or the veined patterns on a leaf, the curling vine, the colors of sunset and sunrise, the movement of a fan, the flutter of the curtains, reflections and shadows at play on a moonlit night. Touch a stone, feel the texture. Place your ears against the bark of a tree and listen. Try to identify the smells carried by the breeze. Invoke memories of rainy days. Taste the raindrops tumbling from the sky. And don’t hesitate to delve the world within you as well. 
Listen to your own breathing, the drumming of your heartbeat, the roar of your blood flowing within, the mighty rumble of your stomach. Surrender to the moment.
Let emotions and feelings surge. And they will. 
Then when the thoughts flow, in a rush and they surely will, record them on paper, phone , laptop or an audio recorder on your phone.  Put technology to use

Don’t hold back. Just go ahead and express. Now that you have unlocked the portal to the creative realm, leverage and apply it in your writing. Albeit with a touch of discipline. Expand on the moment, grow it into a scene, explore different outcomes. 

Allow the writing to take shape. A story, a personal narrative, a poem, a verse , anything might emerge. 

Pick a muse if you can. An oddly shaped cloud, a tree, a person, or anything or anyone your imagination pulls up when you think of a muse. Next you step into the skin of your imaginary muse…become the muse and imagine and experience the world around through the eyes, the perspective of the muse… 

Now step out and observe the muse as an outsider. You simulate different situations. Get back to expressing, stretching your imagination in words.

There might be inner voices that tell you to stop, question you, doubt you, ridicule your imagination…But pay no heed, toss them off, bringing your mind’s focus back to your free flow of thoughts. If you can’t shake them off try this…

Close your eyes, take a deep breath…inhale, hold your breath for a few counts. Then exhale. This can help clear your head and shrug off those inner voices of dissent.

That being said, stay open to learning, continuously and upgrading your knowledge and awareness across diverse topics, exploring.

Imagination has to be constantly fed and fuelled, to keep the creative engine well-oiled and running.

Creativity is to be cajoled thus and not forced. Not ever. And nurture it like you would a seed, a tender sapling, nourishing it with patience and tenderness.
Creativity once triggered can take the shape of anything that you want it to and open up your imagination to countless possibilities and marvelous realms, leading you to an endless reservoir, a stream of ideas and stories. Something you can tap into, dip your feet into or immerse yourself as deep… as you choose. Once you are on a creative high you can pull out stories, ideas seemingly from thin air.

And if you feel the urge to draw, bake, craft, paint or any other creative endeavour other than write, that is ok too. Just go ahead and indulge!

And you are all set! Just to quickly summarize

  • Set aside some Sacred time daily for nourishing and nurturing the creative essence within.
  • Observe, Experience with your senses, Listen, Read extensively across genres, get inspired, keep learning, exploring, put technology to use
  • Evolve your own distinct writing style. Each writer/artist has his or her own inner style of expression as unique as a thumbprint. Be true and stay true to your creative voice.
  • Express yourselves from the heart unhindered by the inner critic. 
  • After the flow of thought ends and you have captured it in words, only then begin reviewing and self-editing what you have written.
  • Stay open to feedback and learning.
  • And remember the breathing to clear any clamour and reset the state of mind

I hope you found what I shared today useful. What I shared with you is from my personal experience. Something that has helped me write over ten books and delve into the creative realm.

~Transcript of my talk – WEF Global Digital Summit Bangalore 2020

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