Is creativity the spark that happens on the journey we take as we look for knowledge about an idea? Is it the spark of insight, or is it the process itself that we follow to find it? If it is the process, then can it be explained and made into a habit? Habits make us successful. Coaches teach processes, but what they are really doing is trying to create habits. To understand the process of finding the spark of creativity, we need to understand it more clearly.
Maybe this spark just appears out of nowhere as your brain puts together its connections in new ways? A lot of people believe that is the case. However, I believe that what seems to come out of nothing is just revealed. It already exists, at least conceptually, in our thoughts and we find it through our efforts. Either way the process, and the connections, are what we use to open the door.
Processes can become habits and Stephen Covey wrote a lot about this in his book 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. One habit, number 5, suggested “Seeking first to understand and then to be understood”. Gaining understanding takes study, effort and practice.
Ray Bradbury was well known as a fantasy, fiction and mystery writer. In his own search for new ideas he said: “I know you have heard it thousands of times before, but it is true-hard work pays off. If you want to be good you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it”.
People who want to be writers know that they need to write thousands of words every day. People who want to take better pictures know they need to take at least one picture every day. Bradbury said the in his early life he went to the library every day. A story from his last book, “The Best American Nonrequired Reading”, really shows how passion for new knowledge is important.
He said: "When I was seven years old, I started going to the library and I took out ten books a week. The librarian looked at me and asked, "What are you doing?" I said, "What do you mean? "And she said, "You can't possibly read all of those before they are due back. "I said, "Yes, I can. And I came back the next week for ten more books. In doing so, I told that librarian, politely, to get out of my way and let me happen. That's what books do. They are the building blocks, the DNA, if you will, of you.
Think of everything you have ever read, everything you have ever learned from holding a book in your hands and how that knowledge shaped you and made you who you are today. Looking back now on all those years, to when I first discovered books at the library, I see that I was simply falling in love. Day, after day, after glorious day, I was falling in love with books."
You don't practice, practice, practice without forming a habit. Most researchers agree that it takes 21 days to create a habit. Creativity doesn't just happen. Einstein called this approach "passionately curious". So be curious. Get up every day and seek understanding. If you’re looking to find a spark of creativity or have something revealed to you then study it. Study everything about it. Love knowledge. Seek for what you want and make that effort a habit.