Allowing Constraints to Fuel Creativity

Vedika Dawar


With all the ‘extra time’ do you feel the need to be productive but find the current circumstances limiting? Pointing every nanosecond of our lives towards profit and self-improvement has become a part of our mindset. Sometimes while going out for a walk, to fill in space for something conventionally productive I tell myself to listen to an informative podcast.

The lockdown is a massive disruption, yet you are likely to have more ‘bandwidth’ - the mental headspace to reflect and incubate intuitions, ideas, and inspirations. Creativity is often considered as the ‘nice-to-do-when-you-have-the-time’ luxury, while also sufficing the urgent need to maximize our creativity to respond resourcefully to the COVID-19 period.


Creativity can be a fickle beast to wrangle at the best of times, let alone in a state of lockdown. A combination of external pressures and more free time (or the illusion of it, in some cases) can make it incredibly hard to be creative.

It turns out, you actually need to constraints to boost creativity, start by recognizing creativity not just as a form of art but a part of getting everyday things done.

Creativity is often seen in relation to the availability of things, be it space, exposure, etc but, an abundance may actually be counterproductive as it rarely urges us to use recourses in different or novel ways. Our environments impel us to see things differently or they don’t, creativity in may ways is situational not some personality trait or inborn faculty. When faced with scarcity we tend to use resources in less conventional ways. Now, that ‘extra time’ may be in abundance and resources to make satisfactory use of it are scarce how can we embrace this constraint by boosting creativity?

1. Harness boredom into creativity

As odd as it might sound, boredom is a creative force. It’s not creative in itself but can be utilized in harnessing something creative. Boredom for the sake of getting rid of it forces you to do things, don’t let it consume you while trying to fight it you may end up doing something creative. It doesn’t always have to be doing something there are also benefits of doing nothing at all, so let your mind wander, just watch the world go by or even just stare at the ceiling and let your mind find its own entertainment and its own creativity. Your mind will do the job, you don't need to do anything else.



2. Feed your mind

Inspiration is an important tool for birthing creativity. Feed your mind with different things, read a book, watch documentaries, connect with other creatives but most importantly look for inspiration in your own circumstances. Embrace the scarcity and even abundance of things around you, doing nothing is a way of feeding your mind too, letting it wander and collect all it wants on the way to help inspire you. You’ll be amazed at where your brain can pull creative ideas from, so be sure to feed it with a wide array of inspiration.


3. Slow down, don’t force it

While feeding your mind and allowing yourself to do nothing, slow down to savor your surroundings and thoughts, embrace them and they will inspire you. Don’t force creativity out; just let it come to you but don’t hold back from intriguing it from doing so. Don’t over criticize yourself, at worse it will cripple your creative force, take it slow and embrace the same.




4. Channel different creative mediums

If the current mediums don’t seem to be working for you, try something completely new even if you have to set aside your nichè of doing something different from what already exists. If you’re a musician try looking at album covers and wonder how you might make it in a different or better way and as an artist you could look at how you might have the song lyrics go another way. If you’re facing a creative bock, photography is always something you can turn to, try going out for a walk, if not, find small beautiful things at home to take pictures of, it’ll help you see things as you go out consciously looking for them.


5. Reach out\collaborate

Sometimes you’ll doubt the ideas you have, which is a normal part of the creative process. Share your thoughts with someone you trust for feedback or even for collaboration with like-minded friends or individuals. Working with another person can bring out the best in your ideas and theirs, which is a great way to get that song/screenplay/painting you’ve been stuck on through to the finish line, or at least back on track.

Most importantly, realize that creativity is different for everyone, and finding what works for you can take some time along with a little trial and error. Learn how to harness your creative flow and your process will form from there.


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