Creativity

There is a common thought that the best ideas come in the most unexpected circumstances. While showering, while washing dishes, or while taking a walk. I agree that distraction and activities that leave room for thoughts to roam freely are important; but I also feel that the flip side is just as important and does only seldom get recognition: deliberate creativity.

The walls are empty, stripped from the grimy holds that decorated this section over the past weeks. Boulder problems climbed by hundreds of people are gone. Problems climbed by only a few will be forgotten soon. But the walls are not meant to stay this bleak – new boulders are to be created.

For now, however, the holds are neatly arranged into their boxes; by color and by manufacturer. Large wooden volumes lay on the floor and wait to be placed somewhere on 45 square metres of wall – to change the wall shape and angle. Where to start? Which volume to pick? Which holds go where? What movements to create? How hard should it be? Everything is possible. The number of options are uncountably infinite.

But still, the result cannot be chosen by chance. It needs to be assembled carefully and put together accurately. It needs knowledge, experience, empathy, strengths, and: creativity. The movements shouldn’t feel similar because it will be boring. If the movements are to funky, most people will be turned off as well. Most boulders need to have an element of interest while the body positions still feel familiar. They need to be challenging, but without overloading the customer. All elements of this job require a lot of creativity. So again: Where to start?

Waiting in the shower won’t solve the problem of being creative. And the same applies for taking a walk. The only thing that will solve the task is to dive right into it and start. Routesetting has taught me this important lesson: Creativity doesn’t come to me on its own. It does not always present itself in unrelated tasks. I need to actively seek it out. I have to explore my mind, feel the holds, inspect the wall. I need to place volumes at different angles, arrange the holds on the floor, move my body, move my thoughts. Holds go up, holds go down again. Holds go up, this time slightly better. I try to replicate a neat move I saw. I fail. Instead, I find something new – sometimes worse, sometimes even better. Problems that require specific muscles movements, boulders that require intricate movements.

And if everything goes well, a new set of boulders decorates the wall. For people to try hard, to invest, to train on, to feel accomplishment, to show off, to feel their body, to cheer for others, to fail and fall, to scale and accomplish their goals.

I notice the same in my field of work: mostly, the ideas do not come to me on their own. I need to sit down and actively explore them. I need to draw diagrams and pictures for some hours until a new potential idea emerges. In photography, I do not sit at home and wait for my subject to appear. I go outside, in all conditions, change my viewpoint, change my approach, and only then, if I am lucky, I create something interesting, sometimes even something creative. And lastly, when writing on here: It’s useless for me to wait for the next topic to peak around the next corner; I have to actively engage in thought. And even if it’s not creative, at least it’s about creativity.

Also, the pictures aren’t to creative this time, but I still like them as they remind me of our wonderful vacations we had in Italy. Just look at those cute ducklings!

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