Solitude Inspires Creativity

solitude

Solitude makes people more creative. When isolated from other humans, you become extremely bored. (This includes both in-person interaction and indirect forms of human communication, such as via the internet, watching television, or reading books.) When completely deprived of interaction with other people, you become so craved for some kind of stimulation that you’re forced to fill that need yourself—in your imagination. You create fictional characters and stories in your head to fulfill your innate need for stimulation and social interaction.

That is why there’s the cliche of the author with writer’s block going off to a secluded cabin in the woods (or another similarly isolated location) to write. If you have emotionally fulfilling relationships with family and friends, not only will you be distracted and have less time and energy to create, but you’ll also have less of a need to create fictional relationships to fulfill that innate desire for human connection.

People constantly surrounded by families and friends still create art, but it’s often less creative—because they are less isolated. Solitude inspires creativity. The more isolated and alone you are, the more creative you will be in trying to get your work seen and heard by others. You are desperate for connection, so you are forced to be as creative as possible. Complacency kills creativity.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have friends and family and still be creative, nor do you need to go to a cabin in the woods to be completely alone. Creative people need some solitude, not total solitude. You can simulate isolation by finding a quiet room and turning off your wi-fi or finding a secluded spot in nature to spend part of the day. With the constant distractions provided by the internet available 24/7, it takes a concerted effort to become bored. But boredom is essential to let your mind wander freely and come up with creative ideas. Artists in the modern age need to carve out time disconnected from the internet and the distractions it brings so that, for some period of time, the only means of entertainment is their own mind.

Too much solitude can have detrimental effects on creativity. Being completely isolated—removed from all interaction with society—for too long can lead to insanity. An artist (or any human) needs interaction with the world to gain ideas and inspiration—to fill the vessel so to speak. But once the vessel is filled with ideas, the artist must retreat into solitude to create. When the work of art is done, the artist should return to the world and renew the cycle of creation, inspiration, and solitude.

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