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How isolation can foster imagination and creativity

I always found that it was in isolation when I was most inspired and inventive. As an adult, I have to force myself to spend time alone, in the quiet of myself, to find those innovative notions.

woman working alone representing the importance of knowing your true business friends.

Getting back to your roots

Do you remember as a kid when you’d hang out in your backyard alone? Your best friend was sick and couldn’t come over, so what did you do? If you were like me, you’d create stories with your dolls and toys.

Those of us born before the 1990s, and even the 1980s, didn’t have the technologies of today, so we were almost forced to be imaginative. In some ways, I worry that it’s a lost art. Then I watch the neighbor girls when they’re playing outside, and I see them climbing trees and pretending to have tea parties. My faith in humanity is restored.

Adults need to be creative, too

Rather than worry about the next generation having imagination, it’s more likely that I should worry about my own peers not having those creative moments that stimulate our brains and provide impetus for new ideas and ways of thinking.

I always found that it was in isolation when I was most inspired and inventive. As an adult, I have to force myself to spend time alone, in the quiet of myself, to find those innovative notions.

Using imagination to drive a project

It’s hard to sit down at a desk and create something, like a novel or even an annual report. To really put your mind to that task, you have to tap into three networks in your brain:

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  • The executive action network which monitors external events when we need to be present to process information
  • The imagination network which is the internal network of dreams and thoughts
  • The salience network is the bond between the two networks, allowing us to change direction when necessary

In order to really set projects in motion, you have to imagine where you want to go. It’s hard to do that with co-workers and bosses asking you about the possibilities. You have to be externally present to answer their questions and give appropriate responses. But it’s in the imagination where the project begins to come to life. It’s important to allow yourself to be alone and consider all the directions you can go. It’s not wasting time, but investing in the end project.

Take a time out

Give yourself some down time without your electronics, family, or music. Take a few moments when you’re alone to really dream. If you have to, start out in your shower and let your imagination run wild. Once you remember how much fun it is, you’ll want to find those times when you can be in isolation and let your creativity flourish.


Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.



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