Saturday, February 26, 2011

Irregularly scheduled interuptions.

Today. I'm working on a presentation. Listening to an audio book. Watching a movie. Thinking about a campaign. Catching up with a friend. Writing this blog post. All-at-the-same-time.

We've become comfortable in a state of constant interruption.

They say every time you get interrupted, it takes twenty-five minutes to get back to where you were in the creative process. This is a very big problem when interruptions are constant and your job is creativity. Especially, when most of the time, we're the ones interrupting ourselves.

It's not surprising that profound concentration is an endangered art. 

We gladly offer a fraction of attention to everything and everyone we interact with. Maybe it's procrastination or process avoidance. As Luke Sullivan mentioned, for whatever reason, we hide from the creative gift. On purpose. When we first get the brief, we tell our team, "We're on it." But, yeah, we're not. At least not right away.

Initially, we're afraid of dealing with the creative challenge.

Why? Because, when you first start coming up with ideas, they're going to suck. Sometimes horribly. Cliches, elementary connections, half-baked ridiculousness. Things that have been done or are off target. General lameness. All of the things you have to exorcise from your head before you can move on. It's painful, but there's no avoiding it. This phase leads to uncharted territory.

Sooner or later, we have to make time to create.

Find that quiet place where your mind can exhale and methodically work through an idea. Walk away with all the collaborative thinking, shut the door, and finally make sense of it all.

As much as I love creative solitude, interruptions are part of the process.

Within reason, they can fuel inspiration. Save us from getting hung up on something. Trick the mind into lucidly retrieving subliminal thought when you're not concentrating on being creative. Ever try to make yourself "be creative" on command? Yeah, that doesn't usually work.

I shut off the movie. Wrap up my conversation. And the book. Scribble down random campaign thoughts. Genius! What if… oh, never mind that sucks. I'll come back to that later. And lastly, I finish this post.

Now, FINALLY, I can concentrate on my presentation. 

< Self interruption > Screw it, I'm going for a run.

[This post was inspired by Luke Sullivan's talk that the Denver Egotist covered here.]

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