An uncluttered creative process cannot be overstated.
The lyrics to one of my favorite songs, Terrapin Station by The Grateful Dead, begins with an invocation to the muse of Inspiration to help the story-teller “light the song with sense and color…”
The lyricist, Robert Hunter, has explained how he sat in front of a window looking out over the Pacific ocean during an incredible lightning storm and wrote the words, “Inspiration, move me brightly!” at the top of the page without knowing where the song was heading.
Have you ever had writer’s block? Or any type of creative block that interfered with your ability to work at your potential? You know when you’re in the flow—it’s a matter of getting there, and we can’t just ask the Muse of Inspiration to help us when we need it.
Honing interpersonal and social/emotional skills involved in the Improv process can become the source of inspiration for your team. Flex your EQ muscles!
I’ve found that doing something creative often fosters even more creativity. It’s similar to practicing mindfulness. Having disciplined focus on something over a prolonged period of time, whether it’s your breathing, drawing a mandala or practicing an instrument, can lead to more free-flowing creativity and ideas. And if you do something creative with any kind of regularity, you start to develop a knack for it. Besides being incredibly fun, liberating and empowering, playing Improv games has the added benefit of clearing away those cobwebs and other creative blocks and helps to encourage the free-flow of spontaneous thought.
Improvisers train by playing games and performing various exercises to hone their skills. It’s like an athlete training in the gym to get stronger muscles. Improvisers train, rehearse, bond and grow by focusing on each other for prolonged periods of time, by actively listening to and supporting each other at all times. Notwithstanding the interpersonal and social/emotional skills involved in the process, the players become the source of inspiration for each other.
Well, why can’t work colleagues be a source of inspiration for each other? Why not be a fountain rather than a drain? It should come as no surprise that while Robert Hunter was writing the lyrics to Terrapin Station, Jerry Garcia was driving across the Golden Gate Bridge during the same lightning storm and came up with the music for a song. He was so excited about it that he turned around to go home and write the music down. It’s not like they could text each other. The next day Hunter said he had some new lyrics, and Garcia had the music.
Those two were collaborating on a different level, but we all have to start somewhere.