Noise Level and Creativity.

I am in Washington D.C. this weekend for a visit and I thought that I would spend my Friday morning at a cafe with a coffee. I was hoping for productivity and inspiration! What I got was kind of the opposite.

I took the metro to Blind Dog Cafe near U street NW and it felt nice to be in an old place that I had been a few times before. I noticed a few things had changed, but it largely still felt the same. I ordered my coffee and while I was waiting a window seat at a communal table happen to open up by the window! Hurray! Even through it was pouring rain there was a lovely blushed colored magnolia tree blooming and I wanted to look at it as I worked on the new Crinkle website.

When I sat down, coffee in hand, wifi password logged in and inspirational ideas flowing I realized I had sat down with two of the most irritating Med students from Howard who were..."studying". Their incessant chatter and over use of the word "like" had me near tears that I had forgotten my ear buds. Their note books, lap tops, coats, purses, and Bic colored pens were strewn over much of the shared table real estate. If I could have just pushed those buds in my ears and worked to music I would have been way more productive that morning.

However, over hearing, well practically being involved in these girls' conversation because I was so close, they began to talk about studying and noise level. One girl said that she either needed it to be consistently loud (funny that's what they were doing) or absolutely silent for her to be able to concentrate. The other "like completely" agreed.

That statement really got me thinking. Here I sat, pretty irritated by their chatter, but came to realizing that someone else in my shoes may have been more motivated for creativity and concentration to be around their noise and energy.

Energy is a funny thing. For me energy and creativity are directly related. If I am feeling energetic and healthy, I am way more prone to being creative and open with my thoughts. When I feel tired, hungry or in a situation that is too noisy or too crowded I tend to turn my thoughts inward and to the negative. Being able to understand where you get your energy from, whether it be from interactions with other people, or quite alone time, it is important to note how it can help you fuel your own creativity.

Needless to say, I accepted my current situation and leaned in to their chatter with a more open attitude. I turned off my computer and just decided to take in the moment. That's when I noticed a small drawer handle in the table I was sitting at. I slowly pulled it open and found the book 642 Things to Draw inside! What a treat! I flipped through the pages to see what other coffee drinkers had scrawled on the pages under the drawing prompts. There were more male anatomy parts than I care to mention :) but there were quite a few awesome renderings of interesting sketches of things from cinder blocks to squirrels, to piles of cakes. I couldn't help but wonder how creative the artists were feeling when they drew these. Where they motivated by the surrounding noise and energy or were they closed off, in the corner window seat, hoping for refuge?


How are you motivated? What makes you feel creative?