The creative process often takes place in solitude, and not least for artistic creation, an undisturbed space is needed to come in contact with your inner creative essence. Many highly creative people have therefore, in their moments of creating, escaped from the constant noise and distractions of other people. Ingmar Bergman sought inspiration at the island of Fårö, Marcel Proust locked himself in his studio where he was sleeping at day and at night worked with his monumental novel Remembrance of things past, and Charles Dickens walked alone in London at night, to name a few.
Solitude is needed to work out projects and ideas within yourself. Incubation also requires being alone, and the Eureka moment where the idea suddenly appears in your head usually occurs in solitude without distractions. It is therefore important that there are places and opportunities to withdraw at workplaces, in schools and in private life.
The importance of being able to retreat to access your creativity is now also experimentally proven. Neuroradiological research has shown that when we focus on the outer world, our executive systems and “me centre” interfere with each other, but when we instead focus solely inwardly, these systems interact and reinforce each other. In this state we can consolidate our memories, get new connections in the brain, strengthen our identity, and interpret meaning from our experiences.
As humans, we also have different needs for solitude. While the extrovert person finds his strength in interacting with others, the introvert person needs moments of silence and seclusion to charge his batteries. Our society has long favoured the extrovert, while introverts have been regarded as odd and asocial. In recent years, however, there has been a reassessment, where more and more people have seen the introverted as more emotionally mature.