It is in the spaces we gain insight and understanding. The silence allows our senses to rest, and both silence and space are essential for harmony, for clarity and for the opportunity of beauty to be created.

Space, Silence and Creativity

Music is built on the harmonies of notes.  A statement which, while correct at one level is only half correct because music is also built on the spaces and rests between notes.  It is the balance of both silence and harmonies that create music.  

It is the same with writing and reading.  Words are typed or written on a white page and between each word there is space to give clarity and definition.  IfIranallthewordstogetheritwouldbehardertoread.  {If I ran all the words together it would be harder to read}.

In our information and communication driven society we do not see the spaces or hear the silences because we are so intent on decoding the messages. Yet just because we do not see or hear the spaces or silences does not mean they cease to exist. The silences and spaces are essential for our senses.  It is in the spaces between words our eyes can momentarily rest.  It is the silences, the rests between notes, our ears can hear the next note with clarity and distinctness.  

It is in these spaces we gain insight and understanding. The silence allows our senses to rest, and both silence and space are essential for harmony, for clarity and for the opportunity of beauty to be created.

Creativity has an energy, a fire that drives the creator.  Creators in whatever field they are in will often have the experience of being, as it were, possessed by an energy and a drive to complete the creative project.  It is important to acknowledge there are as many creative projects in business as in the more traditional creative spaces of the Arts, music, film, and theatre. There is a creativity in building your own business; there is the creativity involved in taking a business that is running at a loss and turning it around.  There is creativity in marketing, in building brands.  There is creativity in communication.

Yet this heat, this energy to create in whatever area we are in, must be tempered with silence and space, otherwise the risk is the creative energy will burn, resulting in exhaustion and fatigue.


We are often uncomfortable and afraid of the silence and the space. This unease arises from a number of thinking patterns, such as we are being unproductive, or we are being lazy. We make negative judgments about the silence and space and feel we should be able to just “get on with it”.  Instead of settling into these rejuvenating spaces with confidence and trust, we fight against it, which is like trying to drive with the brake on. The space which could renew and energise us ends up leaving us exhausted, more fraught and tense because we do not allow ourselves to be still in the space and silence long enough to be renewed.

Another reason we are often uncomfortable with spaces and silence is we see them as nothing, a void. Aristotle is said to have come up with the saying “nature abhors a vacuum”, meaning whenever or wherever there is space, nature will seek to fill it.  Perhaps it would be more accurate to say, humankind abhors a vacuum, because we attempt to fill space and silence with noise and productivity, afraid the space is nothing. 

Yet, in the creative process, silences, and spaces are never nothing. Just as we need to wait for seeds to germinate, so with some creative projects we need to wait for the right time for the idea or the project to germinate.  As Solomon said, there is a time for everything.  Part of the wisdom of creativity is knowing when to sit in the space and wait and when to work to create.  Space and silence are pregnant with possibilities.

The silences and spaces are essential to allow time to reflect, to consolidate, to mull over what else we need to do for the creative project to be a success.  The silences give us time to think about what else we may be missing we have not thought about or considered.  

There have been and will continue to be many creative projects that fail not because there was something inherently wrong or faulty with the idea, but because we did not use the silences and spaces well enough to reflect and to think through. Rather, we have pushed on with our ideas and consequently something we could have foreseen but did not give ourselves the time to think through results in the undoing of the creative idea.

The silences and spaces are not nothing, they are an integral part of the creative process, given to us to reflect, and to renew.

Between the germination of an idea and its growth allow your creativity space and silence.