Creative ideas don’t come from sitting and thinking, despite the popular image.

Creative ideas come from a new information coming in from outside. A customer, a book, an activity, a completely different sphere of human activity. So I like to do lots of other things to keep that spark alight.

Painting and drawing

I was lucky enough to spend over five years studying and teaching in art colleges in my early twenties. It was so exciting and inspiring. In later years I’ve returned to doing something I have not seriously attempted in decades: wielding a pencil, brush, stick of charcoal, dirty finger, with intent.


I’ve spent a lot of my life writing. Often I did not enjoy it and was not proud of the result, but that’s EU grant applications for you. When I have enjoyed it I have found it as thrilling and immersive as painting or drawing. Now I can choose what I write, I want to write something I have never tried before: Fiction.


Yes, exercise really does help us think. Some exercise leaves no room for thinking, but afterwards the brain is really primed and ready to go. Others allow you to daydream as you go. I do a little of both and enjoy it (mostly).