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The Unboxed Brain is a monthly ezine bringing you innovation, spirit and creativity.  We feature articles by coaching professionals and others working on the creative frontier.

Let Your Creativity Flow

 by Sue Walden         

Creativity is what makes life interesting; it's what allows us to move out of the mundane into exciting realms of possibilities... to see things new, to find what's new, and to imagine something totally different. People can get inspired through many mediums. My son writes and plays music. My brother takes metal objects and welds them together into imaginative creatures. My sister uses a computer to artfully design brochures and catalogs. My mother sculpts with clay. My father is still remodeling at 80 years old.

Improvisational theater is my creative inspiration and outlet. The accepting, encouraging environment of ImprovWorks' approach to improv training, allows me and others to access all the creativity buried in us to come bubbling, gushing and rushing out.

What is especially effective is that this process offers concrete help in removing blocks, limits and stuckness out of the way of the natural flow of creativity. Here are some tips, taken directly from student and staff experience and observations of ways to free up your creativity:

• Take notice the thought that precedes the feeling of being stuck or empty of ideas:  i.e. "I can't think of anything!" Ask yourself, "Who says?" Replace that thought with the opposite, as in, "Sure I can! Why not?" and if at all possible, say it out loud, with commitment.

• Observe with curiosity other's perspectives, approaches, etc. as a way to broaden your view of possibilities.

• View any workshop setting, or creative project as a different place from the rest of your life, allowing for experimentation, including making mistakes.

• Focus on creating support and encouragement for others rather than on yourself and how clever you are trying to be.

• If you are sitting down while feeling blocked, get up and walk around; if you are alone, try other ways to move than walking: hopping, sliding, skipping, sashaying, stomping, tiptoeing.

• If moving around is inappropriate for the setting or circumstances, close your eyes and roll them in large circles ten times in one direction, then ten the other way.

• Remember: Nothing is has color, shape, texture, emotion. Use the Nothing. Do Nothing with full commitment.

• Notice and let go of the "extra rule" that something has to be perfect before you open your mouth or move into action.

• Be committed to not being habitual. For example, mix up some of your daily patterns. In the shower, wash yourself in a different order. Dress yourself in a different order. Change the way you eat things; try new dishes, cuisines. Drive a different route to work and back home, to the grocery store or post office.

• Notice and acknowledge your instinctive responses...feed, encourage, reward them.

• Let it be easy: stop "trying" -- focus on allowing.

Notice which of these ideas caught your attention and sparked your interest; now go experiment with it in your creative endeavors and in your life. And, if you would like a playfully supportive environment for your process, give me a call. Then watch your creativity start to trickle, bubble, tumble, rush, gush, flow and fly!

 © 2003. Sue Walden, all rights reserved



Sue Walden is Executive & Artistic Director of ImprovWorks, the San Francisco Center for Improvisation.

Sue has been teaching and performing improvisation for 25 years, and has applied the principles and tools of improv training in IW's public program, in schools, senior centers, community organizations and agencies, in small businesses and large corporations.

She also co-authored "Working with Groups to Enhance Relationships", a workshop in book form to help people build their relationship skills (See our “Books” section) , and is writing one currently on the connection between play and learning.

Contact her at :




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