Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Creativity: the routine of it can be inspiring

Be ready to write
Creativity is such a personal experience.  No matter who we are, we search for it. A kid wants to say something funny to his buddies, a man needs a good line to catch the woman's attention, a painter dreams of that perfect aesthetic impression on canvas, the computer programmer must revise for simplicity, clarity, reduced expense. Let's not forget the writer who seeks a killer plot, equally killer characters and amazing killer dialogue, not to mention variety of diction. We are all in search of the creative moment and its reliable, reproducible inspiration.

Routine has long been tauted as the writer's key to inspiration.  You know the drill:
  • write at the same time every day
  • create a space dedicated to writing
  • set yourself  up for the muse by having little routine steps: sharpen your pencil, restack your paper square, sort through your list of ideas, sit down and make your mind quiet, whatever
  • don't tell anyone your idea until after it is down on paper
  • always leave your writing with a sense of urgency to write the next scene, or leave notes to pick up with next time you sit down
  • don't stop until you have 1000 words down (or however many)
  • stop after 1000 words no matter what (That will certainly leave a sense of urgency to get back to the scene, unless of course you have been telling yourself, like a bonking runner, just 167 more words and I get to stop.)
Routine certainly has is good points. You know when, where, for how long, and how you are going to write, so there are no excuses. Bang you're off and typing, scribbling, recording, etc.

It frees you up for inspiration to fly in or roll on.

When you are in your "place," everyone knows to leave you alone.  That does not mean they will, just that they know.

And routine has other perks as well.
  • It's already scheduled into your day, so work, kids, spouse, laundry, Twitter have already been factored in and can be controlled and worked around.  
  • Laundry can be done at the same time, brushing your teeth and showering can be brainstorming time, and you have an excuse not to watch that mind-numbing TV show everybody is talking about.
  • And when you are done, you can tell yourself, "I wrote today," just as others might say, "I exercised before breakfast." Be the first to pat yourself on the back.
  • It is scheduled into your "most creative work" time because you have worked out that you write best from 5 AM to 9 AM, or 10 PM to midnight, or etc.
  • And all those inspiring million-words-a-day gurus often provide very specific routines, and it works for them, why not you?
All very well, but this post was imagined just as I was starting up my school laptop to begin lesson planning for the new year. I had to shut the lid, send it into sleep mode and restart my personal laptop and begin this post I had scheduled into my day tomorrow.  Routine, I like it best when I can break it into a million pieces and around 500 words.

What is your routine or non-routine? Do you mix and match?

See me next week when I approach creativity in capture mode.  Don't know what that is: see me next week, maybe I'll know then, too.

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