Sunday 4 March 2012

The Creativity Discipline

To function optimally, you need to shut out distractions. Turn off your phone, stay away from Facebook and do your creative work. Brain research has shown that it takes twenty five minutes to fully regain focus after giving in to a distraction.

Make your creative work your priority. It needs to be more important than the phone bleep or vibration.

You need to focus entirely on the work at hand. This applies to all creative disciplines.


Most 'hunches' and 'insights' come when you're busy doing trivial tasks.

When you've been pounding away at the keyboard for six hours, or when the scene you're acting  in is on take 37 and you're not improving, chances are you need a break. You need to text a friend, or get some fresh air, or kick a ball around.

When you focus too hard, for too long, you get stuck in a rigid way of thinking. Fresh insight, literally, needs fresh air.

The best work doesn't come under stress or anxiety. So don't force ideas, let things go and take a walk.


Strangely, yes.

The problem most of the time is that we don't reach the stage where our minds can be creative, because instead we focus on the incoming text message, or we convince ourselves that the washing up must be done immediately.

Creativity must be the priority, it needs to become a strong habit, just like checking your phone. Habits get hard-wired in the brain. They become second nature. Creativity is a habit which must be nurtured, supported and prioritized.

Yet compulsive, obsessive thinking will kill your creative drive. We get hooked on instant ideas. Ever been busy doing the work when suddenly your brain flashes up a much better idea? You switch ideas, but then soon lose interest. By the time you return to the original work your attention is gone, and you opt instead for coffee and Twitter. The problem is that we get obsessed with ideas and plans and success, and even with our passions themselves; writing, directing, acting, etc.


Is to focus on your creative work and do it when you say you'll do it. Commit to the work and see it through.

But also, find the time to step away, to do other things, to be an explorer. Life is to be lived, and you need to be able to look at a tree as a tree, without wondering if there's a way you can write the tree into your screenplay.

If you can truly TRULY let go of your compulsive creativity, then a more organic creativity will rise within you. You just need to trust it.

Care to share?


  1. As always a brilliant post. So many things I think about when focusing on my writing.

  2. The way forward- I trust it. ;)

  3. hmmm, i don't think about any of this i just write, a long time ago i used to read these books on what it takes to write, how to write took a class or two and then i realized it was all bullshit, now i do everything they told me not to do... that has made all the difference.