Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Time Management Tuesday: Time For Creativity

During my working life, I've tried to whittle down the time involved with what I call life maintenance, especially the routine things, so that I'd have more time for my creative work. In fact, there were points in my life when that was my entire interest in time, just to make more of it for my creative life.

Monty Python's John Cleese looks at time and creativity from a different angle in 5 Factors to Make Your Life More Creative, which is available all over the Internet and not just at Brain Pickings, where I found it. At the 5:45 point in this twenty-year-old lecture, Cleese begins to talk about "creative discomfort," which he describes as the discomfort a  person feels while trying to work out a creative problem. Some people may go with the first solution they come up with in order to get themselves past that discomfort, even if the solution isn't particularly original. More creative work is done, he claims, by those people who can tolerate the creative discomfort and stick with a problem longer.

"More pondering time," as he puts it, makes more creative work. "Give your mind as long as possible to come up with something original."

Of course, how long is "more" or "as long as possible?" I will research this subject, but I'm guessing there is no set number of minutes or hours. Creative people have to somehow recognize that the material they've produced is, indeed, original.

I think this is a particularly interesting point to consider for writers because of the popularity of serial books, particularly in children's literature, and because of the increasing number of e-book writers in all genres. Those types of books need to be turned out rapidly.

1. Serial books are "episodes" in a longer story. Readers are left dangling at the end of each episode. Getting them to come back for the next installment means getting that installment out rapidly enough so that they haven't lost interest. With serials for children and young adults, you also don't want the next installment to come out so long after the last published book that your readers have aged out and will no longer be interested for that reason.

2. Writers who self-publish e-books and are actually able to make some money at it often are able to do so because they have a number of e-books available. E-book readers (and I speak from experience here, being an e-book reader, myself) can impulse buy directly from their Kindles/Nooks/etc.. We enjoy moving on to the next book by a writer we like. A self-published e-book writer may not be a best seller for any one title, but can pull in some more income by having a number of titles selling at the same time.

In both these cases, writers need to get the next book published, sooner rather than later. What does that mean in terms of Cleese's point about the need for "pondering time" in order to come up with more creative work?

Ah, time and creativity. Another aspect of time management for me to obsess on.


noochinator said...

How about 'Catching the Big Fish' by David Lynch?


Gail Gauthier said...

He lost me towards the end of Twin Peaks. I remember thinking that some of those episodes were thrown together by a bunch of guys sitting around drinking beer. Which is a creative process, I suppose.