In a recent post, Set A Deadline to Goad Your Creative Juices, I extolled the wonders that time constraints can produce for your creativity. Now, just to show how paradoxical the creative process is, I'd like to show that doing the opposite can also provide fine results.
To introduce this concept, I'd like to turn my good buddy, the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus. One of his insights was: "A thing rests by changing."
Like all of Heraclitus' insights, this one can be interpreted in a variety of ways. But the creative strategy I see today is:
In other words, sometimes delaying action can be the best course of action. That's because while you are waiting, you can gather more information about the most fruitful way to proceed.
For example, designer Christopher Williams tells a story about an architect who built a cluster of large office buildings that were set on a central green. When construction was completed, the landscape crew asked him where he wanted the pathways between the buildings.
"Not yet," the architect said. "Just plant the grass solidly between the buildings."
This was done, and by late summer pedestrians had worn paths across the lawn, connecting building to building. The paths turned in easy curves rather than right angles, and were sized according to traffic.
In the fall, the architect simply paved the pathways. Not only did the new pathways have a design beauty, they responded directly to user needs.
Moral: pause for a bit and let the important things catch up with you.
Here are several questions to think about: What problems can you put off trying to solve? What might you discover by waiting?