Monday 2 January 2012

Habits of Creativity and Productivity

Productivity requires attention. It demands that you put your work as the main priority.

Creativity comes when you allow yourself to do the work. As writers we often don't write until we 'feel' something, but in actuality the best writing doesn't come out until we have been working away at it for a while.

Your best creative work comes from a mystical place. You look back at what you did and wonder where the hell it came from. Your work, mixed with your imagination, yields creative work beyond the capacity for which you can logically explain.

As artists, we're grumpy a lot because we so rarely reach that plateau, yet we crave it. This is cushioned by the distractions.

We get lost in Facebook updates, and chat messengers. Yet in a bid to stay productive we update the fan page and start crowdfunding for projects and we tweet about the meetings we're having.

And these things become habitual. When we have a poignant life moment, instead of having it, we tweet about it -- and as soon as you do that you cut off the moment.

They've proved that our brains are changing. That habit you have of checking Facebook and scrolling through tweets -- that's habitual. It's like brushing your teeth. What does this do to your productivity? As an actor, if you're tweeting in-between takes, or if you're a frustrated writer making coffee every seven minutes, something needs to change -- because these habits will come to define you, they're not going to change by themselves.

There have been studies. I haven't kept the sources, because I read and read and research and then disregard the links, but you can Google this stuff --- and the research says we're losing our capacity for introspection and deep thought. Rather than have a profound thought about our boredom, or loneliness, we play a game on our phones, or we text people jokes the moment we have a silent second. We ward these things off, go for instant answers rather than deeper truths.

But creativity requires breathing space.

Sure, some people will say 'Facebook helps my creativity', and that's great-- good for them. But if Shakespeare had all these notifications to check, he'd never have sustained his thoughts for long enough.

This is why we imagine thinkers and dreamers as being out in the fields and mountains. They need space, they need to be able to dream and fantasize without a phone beep saying 'enough now, check this message'.

You can be adequate this way. But the world calls for more than adequate, and to be that you need to value your creativity higher than the distractions. You need to put them to one side and focus on your work. You do this by listening to what happens inside of you.

It's about energy. And time. Every time you check your Facebook 'likes' or refresh your emails or flick through the TV channels, these seconds and minutes and hours add up. There are only twenty four hours in a day.

If you work a demanding job or have children or someone you care for, then time becomes even more precious. So if you're looking around Twitter or YouTube hoping for answers, you're wasting your time. Do your work. The work you know you want to be doing. If you feel your passion has gone, you'll find it again when you make it your priority. The distractions are distractions -- a sea of inventions that can be helpful but are too often a way of keeping us from opening our minds and using them to their full capacity.

Notice all your habits.
Decide whether they help or hinder your creative work.
Adjust them accordingly, immediately.

Care to share?

Saturday 31 December 2011

Friday 30 December 2011

Inside Of Me

My favourite films become part of my DNA. It's the same with music. I am more complete because of the art that resonates with me. I have a stronger sense of who I am.

For me, all it takes is a clip of Chaplin going for a leisurely walk, or It's listening to some Ennio Morricone late at night. These simple things remind me of who I am, where I've been, and the journey I'm on.

There are few pleasures as great as revisiting the films you hold dearest. They're like old friends who you've been longing to see. You know everything about them and they know everything about you.

It's hard to say why your favourite films are your favourite films. Out of the thousands you see, some just hit you in a different way. Once they're with you, they stay with you.

I could recommend you films any day of the week, but I could never guess which ones will stick. It's like finding the perfect partner, there are no rules, no pattern, your heart loves what it loves.

Care to share?

Thursday 29 December 2011

'The Artist's Voice' - FREE Kid In The Front Row E-Book

I have just published my first e-book. It's called 'The Artist's Voice' - and is written as a tool to help you get past your creative blocks and all those little ways we sabotage our work when it comes to doing what we love: creating art.

You can download it at this link. The e-book is FREE to all and I encourage you to share it with as many people as you can. Download it, print it, email it to friends, stick it on your kindle; my only hope for the book is that it gets out there into the world and helps a few people with their creativity.

This is the first e-book I have published through the blog; so I am really interested in your feedback, too. Thanks all! Have a great new year!

Care to share?

Life / Afterlife

Is this really all there is, and then when we die, nothing? Surely there must at least be a disco.

I hope there is a heaven -- my only concern is that it will be an extremely long journey to get there. I can't afford a trip to Australia, let alone the afterlife.

If I do reach heaven, I hear that it's a paradise; filled with love and happiness. However, once there, what if someone at the dinner table doesn't pass the salt, would this not lead to conflict? And if there wasn't any conflict, wouldn't that be even more annoying? I am convinced that heaven will be full of dead people giving questionable glances and contradictory body signals. Worse still, they may not even have salt with meals at all.

Of course, I may end up in hell rather than heaven. What would happen if I killed nine people in a shopping mall and then immediately rugby tackled a terrorist, saving the lives of five thousand people? Would that mean heaven? Hell? Or somewhere in-between, like Wales?

There is also the risk that I won't get into heaven if I don't fully accept God. How can I be believe in a higher power when Rebecca Black got 50 million hits on YouTube?

The Buddhists believe there are several heavens, which means It's much easier to find a good deal on an apartment. Once settled, you also have plenty of places to take a trip, depending on whether they have aircraft in the afterlife.

In most of the major religions, as well as in some of the minor ones, heaven is said to be a place where the negative aspects of Earthly life no longer exist. This of course means that only the positive parts of life make it to heaven. But what could these be? Love, sex and friendships are fraught with negativity and arguments, so what will actually be waiting in store for us when we arrive? The only purely positive thing I can think of, is ice cream. This also makes sense as hell would never stock ice cream, as their fridge-freezers have a tendency to over-heat. This news sadly means that Lactose Intolerant people won't be allowed into heaven, but most people will agree, this is no great loss.

Glad to be of service with my intelligent guide to the afterlife. I'm available for speeches.

Care to share?