My Best Ideas Happen in the Shower

This post is a continuation of our series based on a TED talk delivered MIT professor Dr. Sherry Turkle that was posted on Scott Elliot’s blog, Resurrected Living. For the full video, go here.

Today Dr. Turkle talks about the effect technology has on our creativity:

The creative process is fascinating to me. While I am not the most creative person in the world, I enjoy the process of creating, and always have deep respect for people who create things I could not imagine. The places that I create usually take the form of blogs, classes, and sermons. And more often than not, my inspiration for these occurs when I am in the shower.

The shower is one of the few places I am truly alone and quiet. With the removal of distraction, my mind begins to clear itself of all of the other things that may be going on. As this happens, I begin to make sense of my day. And beyond that, once I have ordered my day a little, I begin to get new ideas. Making sense of my life inspires me to create.

But this requires room to reflect. It requires time to stop. It requires us to shut down our phone and iPad and just BE. I think this is what Turkle is talking about here.

I have days that I am too busy to stop and pause for any significant amount of time. On these days, even my quiet moments I fill with digital noise. On days like this, even the most routine creativity is grueling. Most would call this “writer’s block.” But as Anne Lamott says, I am not blocked. I am empty.

If I do not have space in my day to think and be quiet, I never make sense of my life. I never give it meaning. Without the hard work of making sense of my life, I am not as able to create something meaningful.

Creation is one of our greatest works as humans. It is one of the main ways we carry the image of God. Whether we create words, art, people, food, relationships, programs – whatever it may be – we are entering into the heart of God. So creation is at its best when it starts in the presence of God.

My best talks and writing come from times I have spent a lot of time in prayer. And not simply praying about a message. I do that the ineffective way all the time, “God, I know this lesson sucks right now because I am busy, so do your thing and make it better.”

The prayer that makes for the best creations is the prayer where I am just alone and connected to God. This time with God centers me on the Creator, and allows me to produce and create things I could not on pure human effort alone. Or it gives me the greater ability to simply be present to those around me. It opens my eyes to the image of God within them and discover new ways to interact.

What do you create? How do margins make you a better creator?

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6 thoughts on “My Best Ideas Happen in the Shower

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