A big part of creative thinking is about fuller awareness, really being open to what is around you.

You can do this by focusing on one channel, one sense – for example, touch or smell or hearing, or by saturating yourself with whatever is around you. You can make one of your senses a theme for the day, or set it as your focus while out for a walk.

Music is a great way to spark creativity – try listening (really listening) to an old favourite as if you had never heard it before, or compare two versions of a song or piece of music – Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah or a Beethoven symphony, for example.

Try this:

Perhaps the most fun way to experiment with this is to use your senses with food. You could try chocolate or if you’d prefer, a jelly bean or piece of dried fruit, such as one sultana. This is partly about noticing as you eat it, and partly about coming up with colourful, poetic and metaphorical ways to describe the taste.

So sit down at a table with your single chocolate or jelly bean or piece of dried fruit.

Put your treat down in front of you. Take the time to really look at it – at least 60 seconds – and to notice what your taste buds are doing. Are your fingers itching to touch it… can you smell it?

Now pick it up, and hold it in your hand for another 60 seconds. What does it feel like? Smell it…

Now put it in your mouth and slowly, slowly eat it. Take at least 60 seconds before swallowing it (hard, but quite possible!)…

Now write a paragraph or a poem about your chocolate. Use extravagant language and metaphors – this chocolate is like… eating it was like… better than…

You can also do this by comparing the tastes, colours and so on of three types of honey or three types of olives or even three wines…

Joanna Maxwell


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