intentional living

how to enter a creative flow

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what is flow?

flow is a clear-headed state of being where your ideas spring forth almost effortlessly. although I’ve only recently delved into the concept I think I’ve always experienced moments of flow. times when the words just spill onto the page, or there is a sense of perfection in every paint stroke. I am at peace with the act of creating and the ideas are flowing freely.

the beauty of creative flow is that it is not related to one specific activity, it can be applied to many aspects of your life. the similarities are a meditative focus, where the person is completely submerged in the activity.

why access flow?

why is it practical to bring flow into your everyday life? you’re five times more productive, and you’re going to enjoy what you’re doing a lot more. one study showed that people rated highest their happiness and wellbeing were those who most frequently accessed a state of flow. the other curiosity is that when you are in a state of flow you are not using more of your brain but less of it. the part that is shut off is your inner critic, sense of self and sense of time. this is why the ideas flow so freely, and you experience a sense of timelessness.

how to enter flow

so this is the catch. sounds like a wonderfully divine state of being, but you still have to get there right? like anything it takes time to learn but there are lots of tools available to enter flow and the rewards are infinite.

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flow state triggers

give yourself time

it takes time to find the peaceful mindset that comes with creative flow, it’s good if you can set aside a few distraction-free hours, or at least 60 minutes.

love what you are doing

extrinsic motivation comes from without, maybe it’s what other people are telling you you should do or maybe it’s what you “think” you should. Intrinsic motivation comes from within, it is a far more powerful source of motivation and it comes from love.

focused, without pressure

you don’t want to be bored and you don’t want to be stressed, find something in the middle.

believe in yourself

you’ve found this feeling before, maybe you weren’t even looking for it, but you know what it feels like. focus on this feeling, and remember that you will find it again.

create the right environment

when creating alone I find ways to cultivate the right environment. natural lighting, a cup of mint tea, my dad’s piano playlist.

studies show that flow is more enjoyable when shared with other people, maybe a shared workspace, or a productive coffee shop, or just a few friends who can all create together.

finally a tip from ernest hemingway:

never work until the candle is completely burned out. this way when you come back to your work you will have somewhere to go from.

2 Comments
  • Chris Jun
    Posted at 20:08h, 21 January Reply

    This is amazing. I forgot creative flow that I had long time ago. It is so hard to recover once I loose it. There are lots of creative process videos on youtube, but they only focus on skills not original source, the state of mind it can derive from. Your blog is easy to read and attractive. It manifests the creative process within unlike tons of thousands of other books that teach how to do yourself; in fact, the book is all about self improvement and planning things like robots.

    • Savannah Van Block
      Posted at 13:09h, 30 January Reply

      hey chris,
      reading your comment made me so happy. accessing the creative flow is a process that continues to fascinate me, and I agree completely. In those moments that you lose it it can be very hard to recover; but I think the beauty of the process is that each time you rediscover the feeling it comes back to you with more depth.
      please reach out if you have any questions or ideas, and I would love to hear you’re recommendations on material as well.

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