In 1991, actor John Cleese gave a lecture on creativity. In the video above, an excerpt of that lecture, Cleese shares five factors that will help make your life more creative:
1. Space to allow yourself to be playful
2. A specific amount of time with a clear start and end point in which to be playful
3. A lot of time to allow yourself to be original
4. Confidence to let yourself make mistakes
This past week I decided to make a change and post every day instead of my usual 3X per week schedule. I felt my writing process was exhausting and I thought I would have more fun if I spent less time rolling ideas around in my head (overthinking), researching, and editing. I thought I would be more creative by giving myself less time to contemplate.
Instead, I discovered that I need a lot of time in order to be creative, not less. As Cleese says while discussing point #3 in the lecture, I need to “give (my) mind as long as possible to come up with something original.” I need to roll ideas around in my head. I need to do research. I need to edit. Not only do I need to do it, that is the fun part to me. It is comforting to me. My creative process is exhausting but I like to exhaust an idea. I like to get as deep as possible and this week I felt deprived of that. My creativity requires time.
The thinking/researching/editing part also allows me to refine ideas. The more time I spend refining ideas, the more comfortable I am when it comes time to do the actual writing. More time means more freedom to me. I feel that a couple of posts I wrote were published incomplete. I’m still thinking about what was left unsaid. That is not a good, freeing feeling to me. Yeah, I know I said I would keep things flawed, but…no. Not for me.
Part of having a productive creativity is finding your way — finding your speed and managing your time in your own way. It is an art in itself.
So what did I learn this week? I learned that I was right about comfort zones. I grow in comfort and my comfort zone — thinking a lot, researching a lot, editing a lot with a clear deadline — works. I created it spontaneously months ago and it turned out to be perfect for me.
I’m like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz who realized after traipsing around that yellow brick road that “there’s no place like home”. I realized that “there’s no place like a 3X per week blogging schedule that gives me a lot of time to think about a topic, research it, and edit it multiple times. ” OK, not as catchy.
I also learned to find my own speed, to give myself as much time as I need, and to make an art of my method.
You are fastest (and most creative) when you are the one that gets to say go. So be that one. Set your own schedule, standard of success, and go at your own pace.