Creative expression is the lifeblood of an INFP. They need it in order to convey their innermost feelings and values, and to also grow as an individual. As an INFP, I can’t imagine what a world is like without creative expression. I think it’s what makes us human—and not robots. Can robots be creative? That’s for another discussion. (Maybe an INTP/ENTP would like to chime in.) 😛
Without creativity, we lose a part of our souls
The imagery that comes to mind when I think of humans losing their essence, as a consequence of not tapping into their creative capacity, is Marx’s depiction of the worker who is alienated from their work and its product in the Capitalist. A worker in an assembly line helps build a product in which they have no say over the design and thus has no meaningful connection to it. From their repetitive and uninspiring mindless labor, they become living robots—nothing more than a piece of machinery.
Actually, going back to my robot topic, robots are becoming very creative thanks to artificial intelligence and I’m afraid that they are also replacing our creative jobs. They can now make beautiful artwork, cook gourmet dinner, and perhaps soon they’ll be writing novels and blogs! My argument is that even though robots may be able to do these things, we definitely shouldn’t stop finding ways to explore or creativity—or else we’ll no longer be what it means to be human.
As I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog post, creativity helps us with our introspection and self-discovery. It also gives us freedom, lets us express our authentic selves, and helps us define who we are.
So without further ado, here’s how I find my creative muse.
Creativity requires spontaneity
Since my childhood, I liked exploring my creative side using a variety of medium: from writing stories to playing the piano, to decorating my room. These things occurred to me quite naturally. However, as I get older, I can find myself struggle coming up with new and original ideas. As a content marketer, it’s my full-time job to be constantly developing articles and other forms of content for my agency. Even as a personal blogger, I sometimes run dry on ideas and get frustrated.
But when inspiration comes, it usually hits with a BANG! Where does this sudden inspiration come from? If I were to map out my bursts of creativity on a chart, I get these spikes at times in my life when I least expect—when I’m doing something random and outside of my usual routine. This may include going on a last minute trip, from interacting with new people, to watching random videos on YouTube.
The thing with spontaneity is that it happens unintentionally. Actively seeking inspiration breaks the creative chain; so instead, I simply have to live the moment and not think too hard about things (and let my Ne do its magic). It also helps to put myself out there more, such as going to a meetup event or picking up a random book, because doing so increases my chance of finding that aha moment. Sometimes creativity comes to me when I’m simply relaxing and being introspective.
So, when I’m low on creative juice, I use that time to take a break and relax and do something different and fun. Before I know it, the creativity will start kicking in again.
Perfectionism is the death of creativity
A lot of times when I’m in the process of producing something, such as a piece of writing, struggle to get my thoughts out even though I have an idea in mind. It’s because I want to make things perfect, which then prevents me from taking action. Maybe I couldn’t come up with a good sentence, or that I have multiple trains of thought and I’m unsure which one is the best. This kind of thinking leads me down a mental block where nothings coming out and then I eventually feel drained.
When I was reading Everybody Writes by Ann Hadley, one key takeaway from this book was to write the first ugly draft. This involves spilling out whatever inspiration comes to mind without stopping and thinking about grammar and content. Just let things flow. The editing and fine tuning come afterwards.
As well, I have the attention span of a goldfish and I’m learning how to work with it. If I lose interest in a project, I allow myself to give it a break and try something else and revisit it later with fresh eyes. I also find it helpful to break things down into chunks. Sometimes I start in the middle, or the top, or the bottom. It doesn’t have to be in any particular order, as long as I feel inspired to work on that section. I also take additional notes as I write while the idea is still fresh, otherwise, I might lose it.
Be bold and continue to experience new things
What makes something original is that it’s taken from a personal experience. Every person has a story and style that’s unique to them. Our ideas do not just come out of thin air even though it may seem this way at times: it’s derived from our interactions with the world combined with our perceptions. And so, it’s essential to continue to stay curious and explore new ideas and places in order to fuel our imagination.