Creativity Cannot Be Scheduled

Lately I’ve been struggling to get my creative juices flowing the way they once did. For a short period of my life, it actually came easy for me to seemingly turn my creativity on or off. However, as I’ve experienced my recent battle with creative roadblocks, I’ve found that creativity cannot be scheduled, nor should it be.

The time wherein creative ideas seemed to flow so freely for me was merely a mirage if I really take the time to analyze it. I wasn’t turning creativity on or off, but simply letting it come to me whenever it felt like it. You see, contrary to popular belief, being creative is not a super power that you can summon at will, but rather one that must be allowed to wash over you when and if it sees fit to do so.

My problem now is the problem that many people have. I’m trying to force creativity into my “9-to-5” schedule, and it’s basically giving me the finger for trying to do so. It’s only when I let myself detach from that routine and work more flexible hours that I get that rush or that feeling washing over me out of nowhere.

Recently I was preparing to work on an R&D project I had been assigned. I sat down for three or four days in a row, staring blankly at my computer screen, begging for ideas to come. Just as expected, though, they never showed up. It wasn’t until a week later that I finally got what I was looking for.

I had been up all night and my mind just wouldn’t shut off for some reason. There wasn’t anything magical about the thoughts I was having, but I could feel something on the horizon. Almost like a storm brewing. The next morning, in the shower, my head was suddenly flooded with ideas and concepts. Immediately I jumped out and began writing it all down. Within the next hour I had 10-12 notebook pages filled with potential ideas for my project. They were all up there, hiding, just waiting for the right time to show their face.

That’s the thing about being creative. You can’t force it, and you can’t teach it. It’s a symptomless sickness that we’re afflicted with. You never know when an outbreak will occur, but when it does, you have to be ready to absorb every last drop of what it gives you. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that you can’t put a square peg in a round hole. Well, creativity is a square peg, and schedules are the round holes of life. The two never have and never will fit together.

Where and when does creativity strike you? I’d love to hear your stories. Drop me a line in the comments or shoot me a message via Facebook or Twitter. Thanks for reading!

Justin Seeley is a graphic designer, author, and online content creator. His work can be seen on platforms such as LinkedIn Learning, Lynda.com, CreativeLIVE, and Pluralsight. Justin loves helping both individuals and businesses reach their professional goals through education, creative services, and social content strategy.

3 comments On Creativity Cannot Be Scheduled

  • Creativity strikes me usually strikes when I’m in my car driving, in conversation with friends, and in the shower. I have found that it usually strikes when I just disconnect from the day’s activities and stresses and just breath and relax. However for the other times that creativity sparks, I always carry a Pocketsize Moleskine Notebook and keep a pen handy. And this I have found has helped me capture the creative juices best.
    And when I’m in the car, I store a pack of post its and pen for the instances that it sparks there. For that instance, I will try to find the closest next exit and of find a spot to stop and just write it down.

  • HEY JUSTIN great post.

    I completely agree and try and keep some way of recording an idea handy at all times. (I use pen and paper to scribble and draw and Evernote on the mobile, a drawing program on the pc – GIMP for now)

    Sometimes I stay up late, and get little sleep. But feel comforted knowing that my ideas are safely recorded for hashing out in more detail later.

    This post and your.. GOOD and DONE v Perfect and UNFINISHED post has inspired me to plan designing my small business. And by that I mean, plan and start, rather than just say I need to consider X, Y Z, and never actually starting.

    Can you share more about the workflow (process and software) you discussed in your Good and Done v unfinished post to (1) make a mockup (2) create a functioning wordpress theme from – 1 and (3) do it a few days, a very short timeframe (Did you stay up all night, like when your brain wouldn’t turn off?)

    JUSTIN –> “All the while my traffic was suffering and my audience shrinking because I wasn’t putting out content. Realizing this, I quickly made a mockup, turned it into a functioning WordPress theme and launched it within a span of just a few days.”

    http://justinseeley.com/editorial/good-and-done-trumps-perfect-and-finished/

    Many Thanks, Inspired – Josh.

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