When I wake up in the morning, I make coffee. I feed the cat. I sit down with a pen and notebook and start to write.
Then the cat comes to sit on my lap, and I have to readjust the pen and notebook to fit on top of her.
I’ve been doing the same thing, (less the cat) since I was a teenager. Having that time, before everything else, for clear, unencumbered thinking keeps me balanced. The times in my life when I slipped out of that habit, I was also in some variety of other ways disconnected.
I’ve been doing this so long that it usually only takes touching the pen and seeing the paper to feel a sense of creative connection and power. But sometimes, that doesn’t happen. If I’m tired, or particularly anxious, it’s hard to make that leap. So I’ve been working out a series of prompts that shift thinking back into the energetically positive stream.
When I’m thinking in the morning, I’m not doing actual creative work- I don’t write fiction or poetry or even design stuff. I’m doing the precursors to creative work. The setup for creative thinking, so to speak. Stretching before running.
For me- I think for most people, though they may frame it differently- creative thinking is facilitated by structure. Problem solving, figuring things out, identifying a variety of ways to achieve an end- all prompt that feeling of connection.
Here’s how the prompts work:
1. Identify what area of life you want to think creatively about. For me, this tends to be our businesses.
2. Make a list of ten aspects of #1 that you’d like to develop additional thinking about.
3. Start doing that list.
Basically: what do you want to improve? Chunk it up, and think about each aspect in much greater detail. Then synthesize.
So here’s a little dichotomy that just surprised me: I look at the lists of prompts that I wrote this morning, and I think they are trite. They’re unsexy. They don’t seem particularly inspiring. But that’s because now, here on the computer and the blog, I’m looking through my editor eyes, not my imagination eyes. The first thing I think, when I look at my own list, is this: is this how other people, people who are really successful think? Pollock or Jobs or Chanel weren’t sitting down in the morning and writing this kind of crap.
But here’s the thing I know: I know what creative thought process feels like for me, and I know how to provoke it. Given the combination of time, relative un-interruption, and something to record with (pen, paper, paint); these thinking prompts are my tools when inspiration alone is elusive.