Writers, artists, and all creative types alike search for a way to induce that oftentimes elusive “creative flow”.

But what is that “flow”?

I believe it’s different for everyone, an indescribable feeling of total “rightness” in what you’re creating. It’s that sense of knowing that what you’re writing or drawing or sculpting or painting or photographing (etc.) is not only “right” but damn near perfect. It’s the driving force behind creating something that you can be proud of, something so beautiful and captivating that once finished it rests near to your heart. It’s creating something that you believe in, something beyond amazing.

I typed into a search engine, “how to induce creativity”. The results were numerous, and range anywhere from music, to viewing colors, writing exercises, yoga, hypnosis, and so much more.

One that stood out to me is called hyponagogia (which you can read about here on a blog). It’s a relatively new concept for me, in which the “artist” or “creator” sits down with the purpose of just starting to fall asleep in order to allow the conscious to observe the thought process of the subconscious (which can often connect ideas and thoughts in ways previously unthought-of by the conscious mind). It’s a little vague, but the blog’s author reports that Mr. Thomas Edison himself used this process to come up with ideas for inventions and theories, as well as a slew of other famous artists and writers (even an idol of mine, Edgar Allen Poe). Now, I can’t vouch for this process much, but I can say that the blog page interested and intrigued me enough to decide to try it. The blog’s author informs readers that it is not dangerous or harmful in any way shape or form, and that with practice it can become much easier to do.

Colors are a little harder subject to tackle when it comes to inducing creativity. Some places say to aim for yellows, others say blues, and still others say green. And beyond that, there are stipulations as to which shades of these colors work best. One website claimed that if a yellow is too dark or contains too much green, it can inspire feelings of fear and sickness. Or, if a blue is too dark, it can become depressing. Most tell you to gauge how you feel after adding these colors to your workspace. If you feel too energized, cut down the yellow, or use slightly less bright colors. I can’t say certain colors have ever helped me with creativity, but I haven’t toyed around with them much. Right now, my office is a cream color, with dark green trim around the doors and window, and faded dingy pink carpet. I wonder if painting the room would help stimulate my creativity…

Music is another common tool used to bring the elusive “muse” out of his/her hiding place. You can check out an hour of music, made to boost creativity, here. I’ve used music before. While writing my short story titled The Dark Place, I listened to “Korn: Greatest Hits Vol. 1”. It’s a dark, depressing, and angry -but sometimes surprisingly energetic- album. It’s somewhat heavy rock, and admittedly not for everyone, but if you’re looking to create something dark or gloomy, it just might be perfect. Generally I try to match the music to the feeling I’m trying to generate within my work. If I want to write something upbeat and bubbly, I listen to some of my favorites from when I was younger. They remind me of happier, more carefree times, when all I had to worry about was whether or not I would have enough money to buy myself a toy. Or I’ll listen to something that just makes me smile. For me, matching mood or tone to music style is key when choosing tunes to create to.

Of course, there is always the drugs and alcohol theory. Now, I debated actually discussing this one, but being that I’ve mentioned it a bit before, I’d like to just express my feelings on it. My main problem is that using drugs and alcohol to induce your creative state can cause a dependence. No, I don’t just mean the physical dependence, though that is a part of it. By “dependence”, I mean that the creator constantly using and drinking will not only experience physical withdraws, but they will feel a stagnant creative state without the drugs and alcohol. I’ll admit that I have felt “that flow” after having a couple of drinks and sitting down to write, but the creator must be conscious of their use of such things, and use these methods sparingly, lest they end up “hooked” in more ways than one. Writing drunk has a strangely ritualistic feel to me, just knowing it has been done for years and years (and yes, it has been done successfully), by greats like Stephen King (who also used coke), Edgar Allen Poe (who also smoked opium), Hemingway (loved mojitos), Oscar Wilde (drank absinthe), and Anne Sexton (dry martinis). There are countless famous and successful authors and writers who were (or are) known to drink heavily. Overall, I think this method should be used sparingly, and with the utmost care, in order to prevent a reliance on an unhealthy substance.

And there are countless other ways to release or induce creativity. Just try searching the web. You’ll pull up loads of intriguing arguments, ideas, tips, exercises, and so much more. Try a few out, play around with it. Eventually you’ll find something that works just right for you (don’t worry, I’m still working on it and I’ve been writing almost five years).

Any comments, suggestions, alternative methods? I would love to hear how you all get your creativity flowing. Maybe your process will help someone else find theirs.

As always, I hope you are all doing well with your own writing and your own projects. I’m looking forward to hearing some of your input on this subject. Have a great day. =]

  1. cripleh says:


    I know it sounds utterly strange but when I’m struggling to put anything together I’ll watch pro wrestling. It doesn’t matter what it is, WWE, ECW, WCW, All Japan, New Japan, NOAH or British, a good match takes me out of the zone for twenty minutes and then I can concentrate on writing afterwards.

  2. The Hook says:

    Interesting concepts. I just pray…

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