Monday, November 01, 2010

Creativity Boot Camp

Sometimes you've got to let everything go - purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything . . . whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you'll find that when you're free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.” - Tina Turner

If you've ever tried to move forward on a creative project, you probably know the frustrating feelings of being blocked – or not having enough time to make progress – or working so sporadically that you can’t maintain your focus.

Check out National Novel Writing Month. This is an example if where you do something daily over an extended period.
  • Because you have to get so much done, you don’t have time to listen to your internal critic. You just get something done and keep moving, instead of sitting, paralyzed.
  • Progress itself is reassuring and inspiring. Panic tends to set in when you find yourself getting nothing done, day after day.
  • Because you’re so focused on your project, you begin to make deeper connections and to see more possibilities, instead of being constantly distracted by outside concerns.
  • Because of the intensity, you can hop in and out of the project, without having to take time to acclimate yourself. I have a writer friend who’s married to a painter, and she says their test for working well is when they can sit down and work if they have a spare ten minutes.
  • You lower your standards. If you’re producing a page a week, or one blog post a week, or one sketch a week, you expect it to be pretty darned good, and you fret about quality. Often, however, folks achieve their best work from grinding out the product.
  • Practice, practice, practice. My novel was terrible, but I think the sheer doing of it helped my writing, just the way practicing scales helps a pianist. The more you practice, the better you’ll become.
  • Because you have a voracious need for material, you become hyper-aware of everything happening around you -- and ideas begin to flood your mind.
  • You can use this approach even if you're working on a creative project on the side, with all the pressing obligations of a job, family, etc. Instead of feeling perpetually frustrated that you don't have any time for your project, you make yourself make time -- for a specific period.
  • It’s fun! I don’t have the urge to climb mountains or run marathons, but I got the same thrill of exertion from writing a novel in a month.

When you are having trouble getting work done on a big project, my impulse sometimes is to take smaller, easier steps. Sometimes that helps, but sometimes it helps more to take bigger, more ambitious steps instead. By doing more instead of less, you can get a boost of energy and focus. 

32 comments:

  1. "GOMERPYLE!"

    Just kidding. Great blog!

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  2. Awesome post bro

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  3. Great post! I really like your blog! Thank you! ^^

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  4. Nice practical advice, very easy to implement but still some pretty solid advice if you're looking for a way to turn your productivity around.

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  5. I had a problem with a huge project lately. My solution? Sit down and get working or get kicked out of college.

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  6. I don't know why, I may be borderline insane, but I always like taking on projects nonstop, keeps me motivated to keep everything fresh!

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  7. yeah, I just pace around the room. It clears my mind and helps me think.

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  8. Nice Post, pretty usefull!

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  9. This is good tips!

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  10. really liking the advice, i need to implement some of these

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  11. I know this feeling all too well

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  12. very cool! keep it up :)

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  13. I need a blank space to be creative :D

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  14. that guy is kind of old to get yelled at

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  15. I need to be more creative...

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  16. i hate the army, but i reckon that the navy is cool

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  17. Thanks for the creativity tips! This should help me out a lil since Im not that creative XD

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  18. I'm in. My id there is Rezden. 870 words so far. :)

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  19. im usually only creative when im not trying to be

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  20. Great advice, people all have a lot of potential if they can focus and apply their strengths with determination and grit.

    Good luck with your writing, tell me what you think about mine on my other blogs :)

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  21. Awesome advice! I did NaNo the past couple years, and it's an soul-crushing yet amazing way to make things happen.

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