Creative slumber

A couple days ago, I half woke up in the middle of the night, dizzy from a dreamy state of mind and with a repeating sentence in my head. I had for the first time in a long while spent the previous evening writing and I presume that to be the reason for at this moment feeling a strong urge to jot the sentence down. It went like this:

“There’s a story when and where you’d least expect it and that is why you should always practice to articulate these events, be it pitching an idea or explaining something to your children.”

I realise I might stretch the boundaries of tolerable narcissism as I’m basically quoting myself sleepwalking and it may all actually sound like mumbo jumbo. I do however find this to make a whole lot of sense in hindsight. I interpret it like I was trying to say that writing is a tool for exercising ones ability to communicate an idea, and it should be captured or administered during the very moment of revelation. It seems to be directed to myself and I think I have secretly always enjoyed writing without giving it much attention. I guess this serves as a good reminder.

Staying in a mental state like this slumbering limbo really makes you feel uncertain and slightly anxious. It may imply a lack of focus, but remaining in this state can possibly cause us to be more creative. Perhaps it brings us closer to our true self, or simply closer to our creative bearings. At the very least, I think this lack of immediate resolution makes us more likely to think of something unexpected.

Did you know that this was more or less one of the creative processes that Thomas Edison used when trying to solve his problems? The inventor of the very symbol of innovation itself. What he did was to sit in his chair with a notebook by his desk, holding something like a heavy ballpoint pen in his hand while slowly falling to sleep. When he would actually go out he dropped the pen and it made him wake up again, picking it up and starting over. All this while contemplating on his puzzles, trying to think of something new. I learned this from an hilarious Interview with mr John Cleese (safe source) and the idea can seem silly at first, but there might actually be something to it. Not necessarily that you have to be close to falling asleep to be creative, but the idea of staying close to uncertainty and embracing it. Related to this, my former colleague at Daresay wrote a brilliant blog post on the topic of uncertainty in design.

Maybe this creative slumbering concept can be turned into an unsettling ideation workshop format.