Harnessing Creative Bursts

When it happens, there’s no order to it.

Or maybe there is. 

The ideas—when they come—they come fast and furious. 

In the shower. Brushing my teeth. After a workout. 

There’s no order to it. They just come. 

They burst on to the scene like fireworks across a dark sky. And it’s beautiful. 

Can it be controlled?

In the sense of bringing total order and structure to it, I think not. 

But in the sense of creating the conditions for it, and attempting to harness those ideas, I think so. 

For me, and this is a work in progress that I’m just starting to monitor—so bear with me—the conditions that are present when the show begins are the same.

I’m usually alone. 

I’ve often just done a workout. 

I’m often in situations where my hands are occupied (shaving, brushing teeth, doing yard work) but my mind is not. 

And then they come. Fast, furious—like every synapse is firing at once.

My next 5 blog posts come to me. Not in an orderly fashion, but 5 ideas in the span 3 or 4 or 10 minutes, one idea building upon another and another. 

And in those moments my brain is on fire—and it feels limitless.

And then I remember—that it’s not.

And the value is in trying to harness the ideas before they disappear into the ether. 

Matt Kobach and others have advocated keeping an idea journal (or can we agree on an iPhone?) within reach to capture the ideas real time. 

And that’s what I’ve started to do. So when it’s time to write—and unfortunately with work, kids, etc. etc. it’s not always time to write—but when it’s time to write, those ideas that burst onto the scene a day, a week or even a month ago are there before you and ready to be explored. 

Creative bursts. There is no order. But with a bit of intention, we can attempt to harness the beast.