Creative flow. It’s the one thing we’re all searching for. We’re always trying to get to the point when everything seems to fall into place. The point when creating feels natural and easy. No matter what’s your creative pursuit, it’s often hard to get into a flow. The following tips will help you to change that. Get from struggling to focus to spilling over with inspiration.
What actually is creative flow
Have you ever worked on something in which you were completely immersed? To an extent that you lost the sense of time and space. Creative flow is a state of consciousness which you can describe as “being in the zone”. This means you’re deeply focused on your current task and your work seems to get done almost by itself. Ideas come to you easily and you know exactly what to do. Often, you only realize you were in your flow after it happens. Once you stop working, you become aware of your surroundings again. It’s almost like waking from a dream. You don’t know what time it is and you didn’t realize somebody was talking to you.
Is this a myth
Creative flow is a magical gift for every creative. And because we often don’t know how we got into the zone or what hinders us at times to get into it, we doubt it even exists. This doesn’t mean it’s a myth though. Not getting into the flow only means we aren’t set up for it.
How to get into the state of creative flow
Creative flow is nothing you can switch on and off as you want. Though it’s difficult to be creative on the spot and at all times, you don’t have to wait for it to appear. The following 6 tips will help you to get into your creative flow.
There are several things which can help you to get into your creative flow. The first and most important is knowing yourself. When you know how you work best and what you need to get your work done, it’s easier to find your flow. Being a morning person or a night owl, for example, can play a huge role in your daily workflow. Find out when there are peaks in your concentration during the day and when is the best time for creative work. It might be a lot of trial and error before you find what works for you. Forcing yourself to create when you’re not at your best won’t turn into good results. That’s sure.
Create a creative space
Your environment influences your state of mind. Setting up a workspace which helps you to be productive and feel inspired helps you to get your best work done. Do you have all the tools you need? Enough light? Do you need total silence or do you like when music plays in the background? Create the space you feel comfortable working in. It will invite inspiration in and ease up your workflow.
Have a process
Having a process in place can take a huge burden off your shoulders. You don’t have to ask yourself what’s the next step. This is important if you want to stay in the flow. Less stumbling stones and fewer questions to answer means your mind is free for the task you’re working on. Not to forget, doing the same process repeatedly will improve your creative work. It’ll also give you more confidence in your skills.
To deep-focus on one task, you have to cut off all distractions. Multitasking is a flow killer. This involves not only numbing outer influences e.g. putting your phone on airplane mode. Everything occupying your mind, a personal problem or the phone call you’re avoiding to make, can crowd up your headspace. If your mind keeps wandering away from your work, there’s no way you can get into the zone. Meditation or journaling can help you to calm your mind and put all your attention on this one thing.
Take the first hurdle
How do get into a flow if you can’t even get past the first step you might ask yourself. This is where we get hung up. The blank-page syndrome. The first step is always the hardest and you have to learn how to pass it with ease. Put a little trick into place. This can look different for everybody. Often it helps to set a timer. Giving yourself a limited amount of time creates urgency. You better do something before the time runs out, right? It also eliminates the feeling of overwhelm. A very big task in front of you can seem unrealistic to accomplish.
Many writers who have trouble to start, use a little phrase to get them going. They type “I wanted to tell you…”. This little phrase will keep them going. It takes the pressure off because you feel like talking to a friend. Pressure can block us. But we need to relax to enter our creative flow.
Related post: How to conquer creative block
Athletes have their rituals before every match. Things they do every time or mantras they repeat to get them into a state of high concentration. Whatever this might look like for you, it can help you to create your own ritual. This ritual works like a signal and sets up the mood. It could be as simple as closing the door which signals you, you won’t let yourself get distracted.
How to keep it flowing
If you want to work in a state of creative flow you have to eliminate all the enemies which are working against you. Avoid exhaustion and burnout. This can be the hardest thing to undertake. Once you’ve found the flow it’s difficult to stop. But if you don’t retain your energy and work past your limits, you’ll have a hard time getting back into the zone afterward. The time you take for yourself, to recharge your batteries and to refill your mind with inspiration, is as important as doing the work.
Related post: 10 ways to find inspiration
Any tips on how to get into the flow? Tell me in the comments below!