Be Playful

Posts Tagged ‘inspiration

Photo by David Paul Ohmer.

Some days I wake up tingling with creativity and bursting with life. Other days my brain wakes up in stand-by mode and splutters slowly into existence. By the time I’ve realised that it’s morning, I’m already ready for bed.

Everyday I have to write.

Fortunately, I don’t have to come up with a masterpiece everyday; just a few news stories and the occasional academic essay. Still, sometimes I do feel inspired into creative, playful writing – and not just because I wake up in a good mood. I think it’s important to know our catalysts of creativity, so that when we need to be creative, we know where to turn.

Catalysts of Creativity

A catalyst of creativity is anything that inspires you to be creative. There are two types of catalysts of creativity – creativity-prompts, and inspirers.

Creativity-prompts are the everyday things that give us the drive to be creative. It may be the feel of soapy water when washing up, outrage at a badly written plot in a novel, or your favourite notebook.

My creativity-prompts are:

  • my beautiful moleskine notebook and parker pen
  • getting enough sleep
  • a cup of coffee or a bar of chocolate
  • appallingly written daytime TV dramas that leaves me thinking ‘I can do better than that’
  • well written blogs that ask specific questions
  • sitting in a cafe watching the world go by
  • sunshine
  • having a real typewriter on my desk

You’ll probably have noticed that some of these are best done all the time, such as getting enough sleep, and carrying my notebook everywhere. Others, such as chocolate and daytime TV, I keep as special treats for when I need that extra boost.

Photo by pasotraspaso.

Inspirations are those things that cause the muse to well up inside you. They turn the desire to be creative into creative ability. Inspirations are different for every person; they may be a poem, a painting, children playing, a novel, or an accidental daffodil on the roadside.

Some things that inspire me are:

  • Shakespeare
  • Walking in the countryside
  • Flickr photographs
  • The Bible
  • John O’Donohue
  • thought provoking questions
  • the sea
  • a real conversation

Anti-Catalysts of Creativity

As well as knowing our catalysts of creativity, it’s important to know our anti-catalysts of creativity. Anti-catalysts of creativity are those things that reduce our desire to be creative. It’s important to be aware of anti-catalysts, not to get rid of them, but to know the effect they’re having when we use them.

There are two types of anti-catalysts of creativity: creativity drainers, and reverse inspirers.

Creatvity-drainers are those things that use up our creative energy, but give little or no creative output in return. These include watching television, reading pulp fiction, computer games, and socialising. Creativity drainers are an important part of life because they are an opportunity to let out any negative creative energy that’s plaguing us, and to express ourselves creatively without needing an end result.

Some of the creativity drainers in my life are:

  • Playing on my Nintendo DS
  • Watching television (especially Eastenders, The Apprentice, and Top Gear)
  • Beer, crisps & friends at the pub
  • John Grisham

Reverse-inspirers are the inspirations that demotivate us, because they lead us to think ‘I’ll never be that good,’ or because we use them for the emotional high that they give us, and so we ignore the call of the muse. For me, the biggest reverse-inspirers are Shakespeare, who always leaves me feeling that I’ll never be able to write well, and the sea, which leaves me beautifully melancholy in a way that I don’t want to be creative, I just want to be.

Your Thoughts

What inspires you?
What are the catalysts of creativity in your life?
What about the anti-catalysts?
Are reverse-inspirers always negative?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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