Creativity and Comfort Zone

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Credit: Shawn Patrick Connelly (Creative Commons)

Recently, your fellow creatives wrote several fantastic post-worthy comments in response to a post about creativity and comfort zones (original post and comments here).

Here are a few notables…

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From Scrollwork:

You asked two questions: Can we create in a comfort zone? Aren’t there ways we MUST be comfortable to create?

For me, as a writer and indie clothing designer, the creation happens twice, first in my head, then in real life. I get images or phrases in my head as I awaken or shower—definitely comfortable states. I am still in non-judgmental mode.

But the impetus to create feels like a strong contraction—decidedly uncomfortable. It doesn’t leave me alone until I’ve taken one step toward the birth. I jot down the blog idea, sketch the dress design, or curate my stash of fabrics.

The process of writing and sewing is painful! I beat myself up emotionally and cramp my back and fingers for good measure. The torture doesn’t let up until I can see some semblance of what I first imagined.

Then the happy dance…

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Jennie T:

I have to be creative on a day to day basis, and get others to do the same. Mostly I do art and help small business get their image together. My steps are as follows.

1. Forget all limits. ALL LIMITS
2. What would you do now?
3. If it doesn’t pop up now, then let yourself daydream and make scribble patterns until you see something
4. Build on it. As much as you want
5. Come back to earth. What is the basic thing in the dream?
6. How much or what do you really need?
7. Back off give up ownership. Now how would you get this done. This is a hard step requires, hard facts and a distance between you and the project.
8. Create the project. Stop before it becomes public or you pay out large sums of money.
9. Go away don’t think about it. At least 24 hours more time is better.
10. Now that you have a cold eye come back and review it. Stay as cold as you can and complete the project.
11. The best part. Go about your day to day life doing what needs to be done. After a time go back and look at your work. Wow! it looks so much better.

This last step has taken me as long as two years, going from tossing the work out, letting it lay on the floor, to finding out it was received as the best work I had ever done. Yes, acceptance by others makes you proud of your own work.

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From Susan:

Maybe we creatives need to step outside the zone so that we can continue to create, so we don’t stagnate. Maybe every time we create, we step outside in some way. Isn’t creating itself a big unknown? When we truly create and give full voice to that energy, isn’t it with no real idea of where it wil lead, of what the end result will be?

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Great tips indeed. I’m sure you’ve got your own. Jot it down in the comments below.

We’d all love to hear from you!

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Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • Some great tips to help you losen up. The moment we feel required to create, we stop being creative. Creativity is not a command performance. This is great help in getting us to a place where the creativity flows a little more freely…

    • Andrew Zahn

      Reminds me of of those famous lyrics from Mr. Kenny Rogers…

      “Know when to walk away, know when to run.”

      Sometimes walking aways make the idea better. Don’t force it right?!

      • Yes, it does! I really believe that. You have to know when to get up and walk away from it. When I do that, I end up building on the idea while I’m doing other things that are completely unrelated to my project.

  • I agree with the fact that creativity can not be forced. It happens while reading, showering, or when your mind is in a different spot. Let it happen naturally and you will get pure gold.

    To capture my creative moments I carry around my iPad. It is like my American Express card, I never leave home without it. When the moment strikes I can capture that creative thought into note to be explored further later.

    When I get to a place where I can work on my idea if it no longer speaks to me or has any real power, it just gets filed away. If the idea is powerful I act on it quick.

    Thanks for asking about my process. It felt good to share.

    • Andrew Zahn

      I love the word you used: ‘capture.’ It is like a snapshot sometimes isn’t it?!

      I use apps on my phone for the same reason. Driving, cleaning, and just daydreaming is a great way to LET those ideas happen.

      Glad to have you stop by and contribute. We all learn from each other.

      Many thanks!

  • I have found creativity comes from what we chose to think about and the choice to learn. My personal growth plan fuels my creative thoughts. I then capture those thoughts on Evernote then later think then write about them. Great post.

    • Andrew Zahn

      Have you written about how you use Evernote? I downloaded it but haven’t really delved into it much. Would love to know your thoughts Dan.