Mark Twain valued a point in the day that we all have some experience of - the hazy borderland between sleep and full wakefulness. In that mid-phase between the two lives the unfettered creativity of our sleeping dreams and the practical application of our woken, conscious minds. The critical inner voice that can constrict and undermine our flowing creativity is often not present at the point of waking. We have probably all experienced the rush of possibilities and half-formed ideas which then slip away from our grasp as the 'realities' of the day assert themselves. Twain practiced dancing between the states of sleep and full wakefulness, developing the capacity to linger in that creative borderland. As he emerged from it Twain immediately seized the notepad that was always by his side and wrote without editing or pausing, all of the half-dreams that he had experienced.
The unfettered creativity of early childhood is easily lost and can feel difficult to recreate. But doing so is not only desirable, it could be argued that it is essential to success. Where, in education, business, social enterprises or family relations wouldn't greater creativity be an asset?
Here are three Mark Twain inspired techniques to grow your creativity.
1. Write for the bin. Take 15 minutes every day and write for the bin. Don't plan it, don't review it, don't edit it. Just write as if everything that you are writing is going to go nowhere other than the waste paper basket. It has no audience, no purpose, other than expressing the flow of your consciousness.
2. Write the first thing. Like Twain, keep a note pad beside your bed. Every night, before sleeping ask yourself questions about an issue or subject where a more creative approach would be helpful. When you open your eyes in the morning immediately pick up the pad and write what comes to mind.
3. Add in a wild card. When you hit a mental block, throw in a wild card. Ask yourself 'What ten things could I do about this if there was nothing that was beyond my capabilities?' Three or four ideas will come quickly, then you will have to become more and more fantastical. One of those 'way out there' ideas could be the wild card that gives you the winning hand.
Pick one technique and practice it daily for 30 days.Take the challenge and grow your creativity.