Methodical Matters or Why Routines Rule

There is part of my personality that yearns for order, consistency and a daily pattern of sorts. I know this wouldn’t suit everyone, and there are times when it doesn’t suit me either, but I’ve learned to accept that I work best when there is a structure about my day. This is applicable for me personally and professionally, regardless of the multitude of factors beyond my control that can have an impact on what I can reasonably accomplish in a day.

What does this have to do with writing? A few posts back I mentioned that I hadn’t been writing as much as I would like, and I outlined a few ways that I managed to find a bit more time or at least make the most of the time that was available to me to create. This has definitely helped, and by creating pockets of space I find that ideas are still coming through, even if all I can really do is get the bare bones down, at least I am capturing these moments.

Recently I stumbled across Quiet Revolution, a site with lots of great resources particularly – but not exclusively – for introverts. The work of Susan Cain, author of Quiet, is featured, and there is a wide range of articles across a spectrum of subjects. In early August there were two articles about creativity by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West: 4 Ways to Make Space in Your Brain to Create, and 3 Ways to Hack Your Environment to Help You Create. I found these articles interesting and have returned to them a couple of times over the past month or so.

There are a few things that I have been doing for some time to help with both routine and creativity, including Julia Cameron’s morning pages, but I hadn’t really explored the use of visual mental imagery as outlined in Stephen Kosslyn’s psychology of ideas. Something I liked was the idea of scheduling ‘unstructured idea-generation time’ after immersing yourself in a new book or movie, giving yourself the space to play with the images created by the experience. It sounds simple but how often do we launch from one thing to the next, rather having time to reflect and explore what has been encountered?

Environment plays a part in creativity, and I know that whilst I can be creative when I’m away from home, or at work, or doing the grocery shopping (sometimes inspiration strikes at odd moments!), having a dedicated space set up makes it much easier to get into my creative zone when I’m at home. This is similar to the idea of ‘The Bubble’, the ideal creative state outlined by Twyla Tharp. By working on the creation of this space, you can have a bubble of creativity that travels with you as a state of mind.

Is a designated space for creativity important to you?

[Photo: Megalong Valley Tea Rooms, Megalong Valley]

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2 thoughts on “Methodical Matters or Why Routines Rule

  1. I’ve found that although I like the idea of writing at my desk, sitting on the couch on a Saturday or Sunday at home alone is a good time for me. I just have to slough off the idea of what I should “look” like while I’m writing and just focus on the actual action of writing, wherever that may be.

    • Thanks Monica, and you make a really good point about how it doesn’t really matter where you are when you write – or how you look – but the writing itself. I appreciate your feedback.

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