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  • Writer's pictureKara Chatham

Enjoying the Creativity of Silence

Everyone talks about how growing up causes you to forget how to be creative, but what if you’re just not taking the time to fill your creative bucket?

You could argue that you read a lot of fiction or watch movies or TV shows or all of the above, but what if that isn’t how your creative bucket gets filled? But you exercise and make sure you spend time with others — again, what if that isn’t how your creative bucket gets filled?

Maybe it takes a little bit of everything. And maybe different things work at different times; and maybe you need a day in silence. You could possibly argue that what I propose is a bit extreme — a whole day. You’re right, it might be…but what if it works? What if a day of silence is what you need? What if what’s killing your creativity is all of the input the outside world is offering? What if all you need is time with the world inside of you?

No one knows how to really rest anymore. No one knows how to sit in silence — myself included.

One of the camps I worked for in college had something called “Disconnect to Connect”, where we turned in our pieces of technology (laptops, phones, tablets, etc) for the time that we were at staff training. This was to allow us time to connect with our fellow staff members that we would be spending our summer with, as well as allow us to truly dive into the material we were going to be teaching that summer. It was something some people dreaded and others looked forward to. It was a guaranteed time that you were “off the grid” and it seemed acceptable to be that way. I think part of the problem is we feel a certain kind of pressure to always be connected. What if what we need is time to disconnect?

You see, I’m not talking about sitting in silence doing nothing. I’m saying find ways to silence the noise that has been created by the outside world — social media, radio, texting, surfing the internet. Find a way to silence the things that distract you most from what the noise inside you is trying to tell you. I’m not saying that noise is bad and silence is good. I’m saying that if you never stop to listen you could miss out on some really great ideas.

Maybe set aside an hour. Have a notebook and writing utensil. Sit in a spot where you won’t be distracted by something you need to do — like outside or in a spot where you don’t normally sit to do things. Enjoy the silence and see what ideas come to mind.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of diving into how I am wired. And it’s been brought to my attention how important silence is to me — hence the post, because it’s been on my brain a bunch. I know I haven’t done that great of a job at enjoying the silence. And lately I’ve felt like I’ve been in a creative slump. Maybe the two are connected, maybe not. I don’t have an answer for that quite yet. But I’ve been working on not always rushing to turn on my car’s stereo when I start it — especially if I’m not driving for a long period of time.

It’s not like it’s changing everything instantly. This is just as much of a process as developing a new habit, but I think it has plenty of positive affects possible. And sometimes a positive possibility is just enough to give something a try.

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