Harnessing Creativity During Times of Solitude

Author: Anna Shilling
Posted: Apr 17, 2020

Collaboration is one of the keys to creativity; however, solitude can also be a powerful creative force if you harness it. Being alone doesn’t mean you have to be bored or lonely. If anything, it makes it easier to be insanely focused on your passion or craft. It allows you to shut out the world and stay in the present moment, embracing the many emotions that arise when we create — both negative and positive.

Being alone gives me the opportunity to regulate myself and analyze why I feel, think, and act the way I do. This helps me make executive decisions in my craft on a daily basis. I release this energy into my projects, and as the masterpieces transform, I do too.

Research by Dr. Mihaly C., author of Flow, finds that creators are more likely than not, introverts. While our current society sometimes deems introversion a negative thing — it’s not.  We need both extroverts and introverts in the world, and solitude is an essential part of human existence. So, NO FOMO here.

For me, I make the most of solitude by riding the wave of whatever mood I’m in. I keep my space clean, try to stay alert, dance around a little and embrace my freedom and ability to be doing this. While in quarantine these past few weeks, it’s been more difficult for me to find visual influences… but listening to music has helped fill in the gaps.

My advice to those who struggle with solitude is to try to stay flexible — and don’t be afraid to take risks or break down barriers. No one is looking, after all! Having the opportunity to create without being interrupted or observed can cultivate an ideal atmosphere for your studio or workplace. 

But there are challenges that can arise from solitude — and working from home in general. While it’s important to take mental breaks, be wary of getting distracted. When you hit a creative roadblock, it’s easier to pick up the phone to make plans, DM back or see what’s happening on Twitter than it is to push through the tension. Setting distractions out of sight helps keep them out of mind. They’ll still be there once it’s time to take a break!

Whether you are choosing to be alone or being forced to by the quarantine, solitude can be a wonderful opportunity if you let it. It can be a chance to find discipline, tap into your creative potential and find the time, space, and peace you need to create your most important work yet.

Homework: What are you during this time creatively? Even if you aren't a designer, challenge yourself to a creative or passion project. You'll be surprised how positive the spillover to other areas of life and work will be.

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