Making Space for Serendipity

I tend to be a hyper-productive animal. I love building plans and to-do lists, and powering through them. There’s certainly a lot of benefit to doing this — organization, goal-setting, feeling of accomplishment, and so on.

But when it comes to creativity, we often need to allocate some empty space. We can’t plan everything, and we definitely can’t plan creativity. The most impactful things we make often emerge from unexpected places, and we often don’t even know how we got there.

As a good reference point, I often think about a bunny I drew a while back. I did not plan to draw the bunny. I just sat down, took out my iPad, and started drawing. An hour later, there was a bunny. Someone might look at it and ask me: “How did you decide on that nose? Why are the ears down and not up?” I have no idea what I’d tell them. If you asked me to draw it right now, sight unseen, I’m sure it would turn out completely differently.

So, one thing I definitely plan to do (ha!) is ensure I don’t fill up every waking hour with plans. I’ll always be tempted to do so, but I must resist. I must embrace emptiness.

Boredom always precedes a period of great creativity. —Robert M. Pirsig