Monday, September 15, 2008

The Creativity Book: Exercise 3 - Make an Hour

The first exercise for Week 2 in Eric Maisel's The Creativity Book is to sit with a timer doing nothing for 20 minutes, then 40 minutes. Then set the timer for an hour and do something related to your creative project. Following please find my thoughts on the exercise of creating an hour.

First, again, an anti-consumerism complaint. The book asks the reader to purchase a wind-up kitchen timer that can run for up to an hour and clicks loudly as it winds down. Again, while I understand that investing money in your dream is one step in making that dream a reality, I feel confident in my ability to throw lots of money at this dream/reality transition without adding a timer that will drive me insane to my neglected kitchen gadgets collection. This time, unlike the mug and tea for Exercise 2, I think lacking the annoying ticking to reinforce the sense of time is a detriment to my execution of the exercise. But money is tight and I just can't do it.

Second, sitting quietly waiting for a timer to ding is very much like my meditation practice. So it is particularly challenging not to meditate instead of doing nothing.

Doing nothing for twenty minutes was pretty standard. Not too much of a strain. In fact I'm pretty sure I do this at least two or three times a day. Actually, after this exercise I became much more aware of the times I do nothing, which may not have been the point of the exercise but certainly makes me aware of the time I could spend being a little more creative, even if it's not enough time or I'm not in a convenient place to put the creative pedal to the metal.

Between the twenty minutes and the forty minutes I discussed this blog with my brother and he had the following suggestion:
I think maybe a little less self-reflection for you. . . . Here's my daily confirmation for you: every day, read or look at something, anything, and repeat "this is not about me. This is not about me. This is not about me." Concentrate on the thing, and then repeat it again, three times. Think about how it isn't about you.

So when it was time to do nothing for forty minutes, my mantra was "This is not about me." I know, a mantra smacks of meditation which is technically doing something. But work with me. Doing nothing for forty minutes was difficult. First, it was difficult to find forty minutes to do nothing, preferably when my husband wasn't around to say, "Seriously, this is insane." So I put it off for a few days. Then I felt like I couldn't work on anything creative until I got this forty minutes out of the way, and I got so excited to do something creative that I decided I just had to do the forty minutes. But with that frame of mind it was hard not to plan my creative action while I was supposed to be doing nothing. Repeating "This is not about me," helped.

Working on my creative project for an hour was awesome! Well, of course, I went for way longer than an hour. But setting out with the idea that I'd only be working on it for an hour made me work more efficiently than I normally do on this sort of thing.

The author writes, "People who do not want to create, even if they have luxurious amounts of time on their hands, have 'no time' for their composing, writing, or painting. We can carve time out of thin air, or we can fill up even infinite stretches of time with nothingness." I do have luxurious amounts of time on my hands. And I do feel like I have "no time" for my art. I have been filling up extremely large stretches of time with nothingness. But I do want to create. I think I have to consciously choose to stop filling time with nothingness (well, other than when I'm meditating). This ties in nicely with last week's new week's resolution to get on a schedule.

Click here to return to This is My Heart home page

No comments: