Writing and creativity experts will tell you that your best access to creativity is when you are in a state of flow.
Although “state of flow” may sound way too “new age” to have a concise definition, here are a few points to help you understand it for business writing:
- Your goals are clear and obvious.
- You receive immediate satisfaction from what you do.
You may also gain more insight into what flow is from a BBC article titled “The ‘Flow State’: Where Creative Work Thrives”:
“Flow is associated with subjective well-being, satisfaction with life, and general happiness. At work, it’s linked to productivity, motivation, and company loyalty.”
So, business writers, how do you get to the state of flow so you can tap into creativity?
Let’s face it: As hard as you might try, you can’t schedule creativity. You also can’t force something like creativity to appear when you want it to. It works best when it comes naturally.
You can, however, do some specific actions to nudge yourself in the right direction of letting creativity flow naturally. You can schedule activities to assist you with creativity by helping your mind remember the steps that pull you into the flow state.
Keep reading to learn a few ways to trigger imagination and creativity for business writers.
Find an Autotelic Experience
No, this doesn’t involve hallucinogenic drugs.
Autotelic is derived from the Greek words “auto” (meaning self) and “telos” (goal).
An autotelic experience is an activity that’s its own reward, for which you don’t seek permission or expect anything by doing it. Each element of the experience pulls you into the next, and you have no hesitation or doubt as you continue. Self-consciousness dissipates, and time passes by quickly.
One example of an autotelic experience is exercise. Well, maybe not, if you hate exercising.
But let’s say you don’t. You’re on that elliptical cycle, and you’re focused on how your muscles are working. With the slightest bit more exertion, you get immediate feedback in the form of more sweat—and the console telling you that you just burned another five calories.
Ah, reward! So you push on, and the next thing you know, your hour is done, and you are well aware of your exhaustion, but you feel like you could keep going for the rest of the day. Okay, at least another 10 minutes. You get the idea.
Perhaps you got lost in a playlist, podcast episode, or thought that made the time fly.
Compare that with the last time you got whacked with that mega-dose of creative energy. It’s the same thing for business writing!
The key to autotelic experiences is that they lead to flow—the nexus of creativity. The more autotelic experiences you put into your business writing routine, the more often you’ll find your way into the flow.
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Don’t sweat it.
There are plenty of indirect creativity triggers for writers and business writing. They won’t be as powerful, but identifying and cultivating these triggers to be distinct recollections upon which you can call will get you on your way to flow.
Write down a list of experiences that have helped you spark creative writing. Was it inspiration after reading a magazine article? Or how about when you listened to a particular piece of music?
Conversely, look for new indirect triggers by disconnecting yourself from your everyday routine.
- Take a different way to the office tomorrow.
- Eat something new for breakfast.
- Call a friend and have a quick chat about nothing.
- Go for a walk outside.
- Read some fiction.
- Check out a movie.
When you sit down to write, what’s the first thing you do? Check your email or log on to Facebook?
Turn that upside down: Pull out a pen and notebook and draw a picture of the first thing that comes to mind.
The overarching criterion for any of these indirect triggers is the ability to say it helped you finish what you started. That’s at the heart of an autotelic experience: The activity gave you its own reward.
Ultimately, you may find that you can map the route to the state of flow and on to creativity so you can return there faster and get in that state for your business writing. In other words, you can learn to gather and leave enough mental breadcrumbs to leave a path back to it.
One last thing: When you do get some business writing done (whether in the flow or not!), you should get it professionally proofread and edited by Super Copy Editors. Learn more about how we help business writers look their best by clicking this link.