Declutter your mind: creativity lies deep within you

Declutter your mind, and creativity will flourish.

Now, this may sound a bit confusing. When hearing the word “declutter”, you might immediately think of cleaning your house or work space. However, tidying and organizing also takes place in your head. This a more complex task to work on.

Yes, aesthetics is an important aspect to feel that you are in a healthy and pleasing environment. Therefore, if your space is uninspiring or doesn’t reflect “you”, then a redesign might be necessary.

To declutter your mind, though, actions have to go deeper. It takes time, energy, and willingness to dismantle barriers that inhibit creative expression.

Let’s go through a couple of key points.

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The creative process to write books: a series of changes

As I published Kaleidoscope Eyes, I’ve been thinking about the creative process to write books.

There’s all kinds of strange highs and strange lows. On the most challenging days, blocks fill you up with negativity: “Is this good enough?” “Is anybody going to be interested in this?” “Why would someone want to read an unknown author?”

While writing my novella, I went through stages where I thought my work had no potential. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to finish the job for not having a compelling story. Self-doubt was a huge obstacle.

However, part of the creative process to write books involves finding ways to overcome those blocks and stay tuned to your creative seasons. I’d like to share my experiences here.

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Creativity and inhibitions: a deadly combination

When thinking about creativity and inhibitions, a couple of questions come to mind:

What blocks creativity? Why is it that, at times, we feel that we can’t use our full creative potential?

We are going through some difficult times in all aspects of our lives. Creativity is one key factor that can help us figure out our next steps in what we’re trying to solve. However, if we’re mentally blocked, it’s going to be challenging to move forward.

I recently came across an article on the top 10 common factors that inhibit creativity. This is an eye-opening read, and it caused such impact on me that I decided to expand on three of them:

  • Laziness
  • Fear of failure
  • Keeping your work to yourself

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Por qué escribir en inglés #AlgoPersonal

¿Por qué escribir tu primer libro en inglés?

Fue parte de la espontaneidad del proceso creativo. Todos los escritores tenemos historias en nuestras cabezas, y muchas veces, ciertas decisiones surgen de la curiosidad por experimentar.

En mi caso, empecé a escribir “Kaleidoscope Eyes” en el verano del 2016. Estaba de vacaciones con mi familia en México y en septiembre de ese año regresaría a Canadá a seguir estudiando. Como estaba muy decidida a publicar este libro, y como en ese momento el idioma inglés se había convertido en lo más cotidiano para mí, mis escritos resultaron en este idioma.

Al mismo tiempo, me pareció buena idea probarme a mí misma que tenía la capacidad de desarrollar una idea de principio a fin en un idioma distinto al mío y seguirlo aprendiendo.

A partir de esta experiencia, veo grandes posibilidades de expresión en dos idiomas que han sido parte de mí.

Las posibilidades del lenguaje son infinitas y hay que sacarle el máximo partido.

 

There’s a time to flourish: creativity at its best

There’s a time to flourish and a time to be dormant.

A time to play and a time to rest.

A time to socialize and a time for introspection.

A time to be born and a time to die.

A time to plant something and a time to pluck it up.

Creativity is no different. Each step of a process comes with a season, in which times are more active, and others are more contemplative. Contrary to all the ideals of productivity, it’s unrealistic to expect outcomes nonstop.

It is a mistake and a misreading of nature to think that you, a living creature, will be flourishing all the days of your life.

austin kleon

Therefore, it’s crucial to know when to do things.

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A garden in your mind to cultivate ideas

Did you know? You have a garden in your mind. It’s possible to plant ideas like seeds and watch them grow as you water them everyday. Fred Rogers, creator, showrunner, and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, puts it more beautifully:

You can grow ideas in your mind. You can think about things and make believe things and that’s like growing something of your own.

fred rogers

It’s basically like gardening, and it’s no trivial pastime. It’s more than the growing of plants. It’s actually the expression of desire.

Have you ever wondered why certain thoughts are more recurring than others? It’s worth examining why they’re around frequently and under what conditions they tend to pop up the most.

Ideas, like plants, can be dormant in certain seasons. They’re waiting to be activated.

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Slow down to keep moving forward

The other day, this random thought crossed my mind: slow down to keep moving forward.

I’ve been hearing for years about the importance of slowing down. I can see that this hard to achieve. Why would I slow down when there’s so many things to do on the day? Is that feasible in a world that demands my attention and energy every minute? It almost feels like it’s not productive to slow down.

While it’s difficult to get rid of those thoughts, I find that it makes sense to go slower in order to open the door to new ideas and mindsets. If I’m in a rush all the time, how would I be able to notice all the little things that make my life great? Wouldn’t it be better to appreciate them in slow motion?

So yes, slowing down to keep moving forward is a good idea.

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Thinking in decades to track our growth

Lately, the idea of thinking in decades has been resonating more than ever. More thoughts have triggered after finding this quote:

Days are long, but decades are short.

I haven’t stopped reflecting on this ever since I read it in this article. I’ve been thinking what it means to me, and if this is going to change the way I live my life.

On the other hand, perception of time also enters the equation. Sometimes, days feel too short, and we wish we had more than 24 hours to do all the things we want to do.

In a different scenario, we wished certain days ended faster. Headaches and other issues that pop up make us beg for less hours so that the struggle goes away. Some days are really difficult.

Time is relative, but it’s one of the resources that doesn’t renovate itself. The way we spend our days determine the things we accomplish in decades.

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When you’re lost for words, play

What do you do when you’re lost for words? Play with materials that contain lots of sentences and catchy phrases.

A few years ago, I discovered blackout poetry thanks to Austin Kleon. At first, I thought it was just a fun hobby of his, but turns out he made an entire book out of them.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about writer’s block. There comes a time when you have to face a blank page with zero ideas in your head. It’s normal. Sooner or later, it happens to the best of writers in any field.

I believe a playful approach is a good idea to get rid of that block. After all, our brains are constantly looking to play. As I’ve been thinking about what “playfulness” means to me, I decided to make my own blackout poems to clear my head and giggle at the result.

Later on, I return to my writing project with a different mindset, and I’m able to put one word after another again. Sometimes, all it takes is a few minutes of your time to relax and do something fun. It doesn’t have to make sense.

So here’s my most recent poems:

Questionable Choices

Snowbirds

Visitors

What do you do when you’re lost for words?

Seek to be worth knowing and the rest will follow

Sometimes, an idea or a thought are enough to acquire a new philosophy. A spark is all you need to keep lighting your own way. Recently, I came across the idea “seek to be worth knowing,” proposed by Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 BC).

I’ve always admired him. His teachings focused on self-cultivation, emulation of moral exemplars, and skilled judgment rather than knowledge of rules. I thought that, when it comes to creativity, the same principles apply.

On self-cultivation, the following idea is marvellous:

Worry not that no one knows you; seek to be worth knowing.

Confucius

In a creative journey, you start from zero. Nobody knows what you do or what messages you’re trying to convey. However, the important part is not producing a masterpiece after a masterpiece to gain fame and become a recognizable face. It’s about sharing who you are through your ideas; through your craft.

You build a reputation from something that matters to you. As you keep sharing your work, it resonates with others. They get interested, and then they decide to connect or ‘buy’ you. It’s that resonance that makes you a person worth knowing.

So don’t worry if you don’t have many followers on social media or enough subscribers on your newsletter. Avoid obsessing over numbers and stressful metrics. Above all, make sure your work is worth exploring.

Discipline will get you there.

What are your thoughts?