So you are in that “zone” where your creative project is coming easily to you. You have no distractions, your mind is focused, and suddenly you start to wonder, “am I getting too much done? Is this normal?”
You may not know what to do. Sure, you have a few ideas, but are they worth risking? What if they don’t take you out of your zone completely? What if you are left right between ultimate focus and idle distraction? There are a lot of self-help books on tips for staying motivated and self-disciplined, but not a whole lot of information out there about killing a good thing. So without further ado: instructions on how to kill creativity (from an expert).
1) Invite the left side of your brain to the creativity party. We all know creativity comes from the right side of your brain. Therefore, a good place to start in silencing your right brain would be to elevate your left side; make it feel really important. When your left brain tells you logical things like, “hey dude, your bedroom is a disaster”, listen to it. When it tells you that it’s all been done before, engage it in conversation. Ask, “has it really all been done before?” Then it will respond, “well, even if it hasn’t, what makes you think you can do it better?” Discouragement will do wonders in killing creativity.
2) You are hungry. You just don’t know it. When you are really focused and pounding away at the next great American novel, or in the beginning stages of a self-portrait that you are hopeful will actually end up looking like you, just remember that at any given moment during the creative process, you should probably eat something. After all, if you don’t eat, you will die. What is creativity worth if you are dead? Head to the fridge immediately, and snack on something that doesn’t require looking at what you are eating so you can mindlessly gaze out the window and think really creative thoughts (don’t worry, this won’t actually backfire on you).
3) Check your email. When you are in your zone, and for one moment your focus cracks and the thought “email” enters your brain, know that yes, you should definitely become reactive in your creative state, if you do want to kill it. Great idea. Don’t take charge of your environment, but simply become a reactive, submissive party that merely responds to its environment. People need you? It most likely cannot wait. Besides, checking your email only takes a second, but it will most likely lead to Pinterest. Which will remind you that you have a burning desire to learn the best way to organize your jewelry. Which will lead to organizing your jewelry. If you don’t know how to get out of your creative zone, check your email. Checking your text messages will accomplish the same thing.
4) Surround yourself with tools that have nothing to do with your work. This is similar to number 3. Open a new tab in your browser. Have your phone sitting next to you. Turn the TV on. If you have any other potentially distracting items, gather them. They will be of great use to you the moment you feel you are getting too productive.
5) Your motivation starts to fade. Seize this moment! Your body tells no lies. If you begin to feel tired, call it quits immediately. Creativity can only flourish when all the ideal circumstances are in place. Therefore, take a nap or close up shop if you start to feel unmotivated.
6) If you are getting too much done, consider working at a different time of the day. If morning is your best time, take that time to do the dishes, or something else that can be done at any time of the day. Leave your creative work for the hour when you return from work and you don’t even have enough energy to change clothes. This will ensure you never reach your goal.
7) Focus on the details. Get caught up on the little things that don’t matter, or that you can do when you truly need a break. Do I think better when I type in Ariel or Garamond? Is it who or whom? These little tweaks can eat up hours of what would otherwise be real productive work.
8) Don’t walk the talk. Just…talk. It’s easy to tell yourself you will accomplish great things after a series of just thinking about accomplishing great things. Your left brain will be able to justify this if you are skeptical right now. However, if creativity is getting overwhelming, simply dwell on the fact that one day you will be a success. Creating a great product over and over will be second nature some day. This may sound helpful, but do not be deceived. It will keep you from doing what you are thinking about, which will accomplish your end goal beautifully.
I hope this was helpful to you, my creative friend. Now, go forth and sit idly!
P.S. Things to research if you need a distraction: symptoms of a heart attack, how gravity works, who is John Galt, can you live without your liver. Good luck getting sucked into an endless vortex!