In academic psychology, there are two concepts of creativity:
1. an older one which sees creativity in terms of dreamlike cognition, psychoticism, ‘primary process’ thinking, and thoughts linked-by emotional-associations; and
2. a newer one which sees creativity in terms of ‘openness to experience’ – that is neophilia, novelty-generation, random permutations and combination of memorized information.
The first kind is what we’re talking about here.
The three cornerstones of creativity are:
- Unstructured time alone: Creativity is founded on introspection.
- Diurnal rhythm: One needs to figure out the time of the day when one is most creative, i.e. basically whether one is a lark or an owl.
- Sleep: Sufficient sleep of high quality. Sleep is where most of creativity happens, when the subconscious mind makes its connections.
(Source: Intelligence, Personality and Genius)