Barefoot Zen?

Barefoot Zen?
Namaste, Y'all...

Monday, August 30, 2010

What's Your Creative M.O.?

I am cutting and pasting an excerpt from Jonathan Fields' blog, as this is just a great entry.  His blog ("Awake at the Wheel") is a great read, and this entry, in particular, captured my imagination.  Working from home, I have tried to set up a feng shui'ed kind of workspace, and have even taken to attempting certain rituals to put myself in the 'stay focused, get it done' mindset.  Some days are diamonds, some days are stones, and some of my approaches had the stickiness of a 1986 Post-It note.  
When I read that Tom Wolfe always wore a white suit when he wrote (my Lord, does the man ever wear anything else?  He is the yin to Johnny Cash's yang), I tried 'getting dressed' for work in my office.  A great idea - ditching the shorts and t-shirt for a more business-like, crisp look.  I was miserable within minutes.  Isn't being comfortable one of the very attributes of having a work-from-home business?  Why was I opting to wear the poly-blend shackles of the Dunder-Mifflin world if I wasn't going to meet a client?  Well, my answers to Jonathan's survey are at the bottom of this entry.  In the meantime, here are Jonathan's two cents on how to set the stage for your creativity to flow:  
Legendary copywriter, John Carlton, tells the story of how he used to have a very specific outfit that he’d to wear to write copy. And, he had to wear the same thing every time, right down to his hat in order to get into that place where, as he says, he literally stalked and attacked his writing.
Could it really be that what you wear changes how you feel enough to impact what you create?
And, what about other factors like where you work, what your view is, how light or dark or loud or quiet it is. Do these things change your creative output, too? In my experience, everything from what I wear to where I am and what I eat have a pretty profound impact on my creative output.
These things form my Optimal Creative Modus Operandi (MO).
So, I thought it would be fun to do an experiment here and share our collective creative MOs.I’ll start and I’d love for you to share yours in the comments.
Below is a short list of personal and environmental conditions that have an impact on my creative output, along with my preference for maximizing the flow of creative juices.
Here is Jonathan's Optimal Creative MO:
  • Clothes – Bare feet, old jeans and a well-worn t-shirt.
  • Sound – Moderate background noise, classic rock, love writing to Led Zeppelin
  • Light – Bright, sunny setting, preferably with sunlight on my face and body
  • Time of Day – Early morning (5:30am), then again late in the evening.
  • Location – Crunchy, low-key cafe, home-office or Soho House in NYC.
  • Directionality - Facing out into a room with a wall or substantial piece of furniture at my back
  • Routine/spontaneous – Routine, BUT provided I have an idea capture device
  • Long periods or short bursts – 2 to 4 hour intensive creative sessions where time often fugues
  • Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – Always have a voice recorder or app on me
  • Squeaky Clean or squalor (setting) – Squeaky clean
  • Clean or dirty – Unshowered in the morning, showered at night and in the final weeks of writing a book, you probably don’t wanna get too close to me, lol.
  • Solo or surrounded – Solo, except when creating music, then collaborative
  • Digital or analogue – Analogue to ideate, digital to flesh out and build out
  • What fuels you? – Raw almonds, organic berries and ice-cold water
  • Leaded or unleaded? – Leaded latte in the morning, nothing in the evening.
  • Breaks – Getting outside between creative bouts, preferably by water or woods.
  • Mindset practices that fuel creation – Meditation, playing guitar.
  • Movement practices that fuel creation – Yoga, hiking, running, spinning
Those were Jonathan's.  Here are mine (Tommy's) :

Clothes – always barefoot, shorts and a t-shirt for summer; jeans and button down oxford for winter, barefoot until winter weather demands otherwise.  

Sound – music, always: jazz, Americana, classic rock are faves.  Depends on what I'm writing as to who sets the mood, but Miles Davis is always a sure bet to stimulate something creative.  

Light -  I need good light, and the addition of candlelight, just for ambience, is always a plus. 

Location -  My Mac is in my office, so I live there.  I sometimes take my Dell laptop onto our front porch for some Spring/Autumn work, when the weather is mild enough.

Directionality – Back to the window or I'd never get a lick done.

Time of Day -  Love the AM, once I'm up and coffee has worked its magic.

Routine/spontaneous -  Loose routine.  Try to be flexible to change and improvise when needed.

Long periods or short bursts - Long periods punctuated by short breaks.

Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? -  Moleskin notebook Wendy gave me and my Tony Robbins RPM Planner book.

Squeaky Clean or Squalor -  The cleaner the better.
Clean or dirty -   Me?  Oh, I'm weird about this.  Gotta shower to feel truly ready to work.  

Solo or surrounded - Solo.  Not a recluse or a curmudgeon, just love to talk, and I will given the opportunity.
Digital or analogue -   Digital.
What fuels you? -   Coffee and Coltrane are my drugs of choice.

Leaded or unleaded? -  Leaded.  One cup when I wake up (6am), another mid/late AM, and a final one toward mid-afternoon.

Breaks –   Whenever my kids need me, when I can grab a few minutes with Wendy.  My office is always open, so if I lose an hour in the afternoon, there's always night time. 

Mindset practices that fuel creation -  Meditation.  Creative writing before business writing.  And, yes, sometimes Facebooking.  Sadly. 

Movement practices that fuel creation -  Yoga and running.

So, now it’s your turn.
What’s YOUR Creative Modus Operandi?
Copy and paste the below list into your comment then share YOUR creative M.O…
Clothes –
Sound –
Light -
Location -
Directionality –
Time of Day -
Routine/spontaneous -
Long periods or short bursts -
Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? -
Squeaky Clean or Squalor -
Clean or dirty -
Solo or surrounded -
Digital or analogue -
What fuels you? -
Leaded or unleaded? -
Breaks –
Mindset practices that fuel creation -
Movement practices that fuel creation -

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