It’s been a while. Did you miss me?
Since I started this blog as a creative outlet to complement my day job, I have always tried to keep up a cadence of roughly one post per month, but I always let inspiration be the real metronome. If I was feeling particularly contemplative, I might queue up a couple posts at once to help keep the pace over slower periods.
Until recently, I have been decidedly uninspired, hence the lack of posts. There were just no topic coming to mind that I wanted to explore further in written word. Although I was reading as many books and articles as ever, nothing was all that provocative. Even after SXSW in March, zip (ok, maybe a few notes on topics I wanted to revisit later).
Writers block. Where does it come from and how can it be dealt with?
Creativity in all its forms seems to be a matter of pattern formation, all the way down to the neuronal level. Recognizing patterns where none are readily apparent. Constructing patterns that are both nuanced and pleasing. So why is it the patterns seemed to have been escaping my attention recently? What’s changed?
When I looked back at the date of my last posts (including one I never published), the dates seemed to coincide with when I decided I was ready for a change of scenery and prepared to move from the Bay Area to Southern California. Maybe there was more than coincidence or correlation at play here; maybe there was a cause.
Influenced by some work I did recently on telematics and the Connected Car, I came to suspect writers block might have something to do with cognitive load. Turns out cognition is a scarce resource. It stands to reason, then, that preoccupation with one thing or another would have a crowding out effect.
I hypothesize that concerns about my move – clearing things with my employer, finding a new apartment, moving out of my old apartment, packing up and transporting my life from one city to another – left very little to get creative and write about.
At the risk of extrapolating personal experience out too far, this hypothesis would seem to be consistent with social and cultural evolution. The arts and sciences have flourished in societies and periods of relative stability. If you’re worried about where you’re going to get your next meal, there’s no point pontificating on your navel.
This would also support practices such as Google’s famous 80/20 rule. If you want your people to innovate, you need to leave enough slack in the line for them to (mentally) explore a bit.
Bottom line, stress is the enemy of creativity. A happier workforce is going to be a more innovative workforce.
Well I’m back and feeling much more inspired.