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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Imagination Sparks Blogfest Exercise


Charmaine Clancy's Blogfest, Imagination Sparks, has jolted me into blogging action this week. OK I can't offer an exercise everyday thus illustrating why I need to exercise (my creative brain) more. So here is my BOOSTING CREATIVITY EXERCISE. It involves no arithmetic, very few scientific formulas, and your favourite snack can be easily incorporated into the routine.

Step 1: Understand Your Mind
I'm not 100% certain but I reckon the mind's capacity to take in and store data has got to be pretty huge; at least 1 Tbs worth. At least it feels like that some days in my head. And often all that info forms into a thick claggy cloud of bewilderment, stress and inactivity.

Step 2: Hit the Shut Down Button
You need to do this to avoid data overload. De frag, reorganise, unclutter, minimise. Call it what you will just don't fill up your precious head space with anything for a while. If this means missing the social pages so be it. The world will get on without you. There are actually programs you can install which prevent you from surfing the Net and thus getting tempted and tangled. So what do you do instead of being chained to the keyboard? Maintain empty space is what.

Step 3: Get Dirty
I choose dirty but sweaty or hot works too. My preference is gardening (naturally). Getting a bit of dirt and compost under the nails, working the muscles out with a bit of rigorous pruning, assuming the smell of a cow byre not only keeps the garden under control but gives me a sense of being grounded, vacant of thought save for the immediate task at hand and open to inspiration. Lying on the grass staring at the clouds and world beyond achieves the same sense of serenity (and is not as dirty). Jogging, vacuuming, sun baking poolside, or painting the house might be more your thing. The idea is that the more inane and physical the activity the more liberated your mind will become simply because it is being left to its own devices and not called upon to perform.

Step 4: Nothing
Time to incorporate favourite snacks, and let your mind enjoy its new found simplicity and peace.

Step 5: Clean Up
Well we can't do nothing forever. And no one really appreciates the smell of dynamic lifter for very long. So shower off and prepare for enlightenment...

Step 6: Reboot
Before you fill up your newly created space with creativity, take time out re stimulate your neurons. My preferred method to do this is to read. Luxuriate in the pleasure of reading whatever you want; books similar to your writing genre, books on your must read list, comics, it doesn't matter as long as it's satisfying and enjoyable; in other words not something on the 'have to read list'. Alternatively or concurrently go to the movies. Allow yourself to become completely immersed within another world. (more snacking opportunities here). For example: treating yourself to the latest Harry Potter flick can achieve the same sense of being on a really exciting overseas journey (at least for me-I'm easily pleased). Point is, it's providing you with a change of scenery and reality which is different from your everyday ones and those you write about.

Step 7: Write
Alright, I've had too much sugar, smell a bit pooey, seen a terrific movie, the face book page has gone mental and have wasted several hours buried in middle school readers but was it all wasted? NO. For me, somewhere between Step 2 and 6, inspiration and imagination usually start sparking. Ideas ignite and creativity begins to crackle and pop. If this happens before your exercise is over be careful to jot them down for later use and resume as planned. Don't over fan your fire and extinguish it before it has a chance to fully take hold.

Before you know it you'll be writing up a fire storm...or at least hopefully have a few more bright sparks than before. Good luck.