Friday, February 1, 2013

Capturing Creativity

Creativity is a lovely, elusive creature that likes to be wooed. Not with chocolates or with expensive bottles of wine. It wants time and attention. Nothing more, nothing less.

How much time? How much ya got? Attention? ALL OF IT.

The monkey on my back prefers a daily word count goal - well - the five days a week I commit to give to the care and feeding of writing. Some weeks, it's seven days, others, it's six, but I move heaven and earth to make sure that at least five days a week find my butt parked on a bench at a local tea shop pouring out English Breakfast and 2k words.

Creativity swoons for ritual. It doesn't have to be chanting in dead languages or wearing funky robes, though those things would certainly work if you're into that kind of thing. Not that I can say much about the robes, since Wiccans have more than their fair share, generally speaking.

In my case, ritual is all about getting the blood moving. The creativity summoning begins when I pack up my bicycle bags, layer up the Goretex, and hop on the 12 speed (yes, I do still live in the stone age, be quiet) and ride into town to the tea shop. Bonus points to me if I can arrive before the shop opens. The bike ride shuts down the hypercritical portions of my brain. The ride leaves me more awake and alive. Once the shop opens, I unpack the netbook and the MP3 player. Order tea. Plug in the headphones to pipe creepy music directly into my brain, boot up the netbook, and start typing.

It's slow going at first. Words and ideas come hard. The first hour is frustrating. But then I realize two hours are gone and look, I've blown past my halfway point and I'm going faster. The scenes are coming together and the ideas are flowing. And the funny thing? Even when I stop for the day and ride home, creativity sticks around. The ideas keep showing up, as if my characters and their world are reluctant to let me go. I jot down bunches of notes for the next day's word count.

Success begets success. It's not a surprise that research shows that the more you succeed, the more you succeed, therefore, set goals you can achieve more often than you fail, and you increase your chances of achieving those goals over the long term. The same can be said of creativity. Show up. Sit down. Focus. Do the writing, even if it sucks (or you just think it does). Repeat. Keep repeating. And one day, you'll look up and that lovely, elusive creativity critter will be sitting across from you, winking at you.

1 comment:

  1. I like the point about shutting down the hypercritical part of the brain! Very important...