I subscribe to this business blog, The 99 Percent (Success is 1% inspiration, 99% determination), that typically offers business strategies and stuff, but this article I found really interesting; the idea that having a ritual around your day actually allows your brain to focus on being creative:
You follow the same routine, sipping your coffee, browsing your email, skimming through the same blogs, the same news pages, the same social networks. As your colleagues arrive, you exchange the same greetings, the same gripes and gossip. As you drain the cup, you get the same itch for the same music, take your headphones out and plug yourself in. You open the same blank document, give it the same hard stare. The music kicks in.
Now you can begin.
If that sounds anything like your morning routine, you’re in good company. Over the years, as a coach and trainer, I’ve heard a similar story from hundreds of creative professionals. Of course, the details will vary – if you’re like me, your trip to work will be the “30 second commute” known to freelancers the world over, and you’ll be making your own coffee. You may incorporate meditation, or other exercise into your morning routine. And you may use a camera, easel, guitar or whatever instead of a computer.
But the chances are you’re living proof of one of the great paradoxes of creativity: that the most extraordinary works of imagination are often created by people working to predictable daily routines. There’s even an entire blog (sadly now on hold) devoted entirely to accounts of the Daily Routines of writers, artists, and other interesting people.
It says the 3 common threads of these rituals are:
- Uniqueness – it should be something (or a combination of things) you don’t associate with other activities, otherwise the effect will be diluted.
- Emotional intensity – the kind you experience when you’re really immersed in creative work.
- Repetition – the more times you experience the unique trigger in association with the emotions, the stronger the association becomes.
Athletes, actors, and even accountants have these rituals, so why not creative types? What about you, what behaviors or rituals do you have to help you concentrate on being creative?