Wednesday, 19 February 2014

How to Stop Procrastinating and Get Creative: Part 1 - Music in theStudio

I don't know about you, but I often find it really difficult to get started on a creative project, even though it may be the thing I most want to be doing. When I finally sit down to that 'blank sheet of paper' scenario (or what can I make with those 2 gorgeous balls of yarn?), it seems my mind starts wandering to other stuff like checking the email, looking something up on google, reorganising my knitting needles etc - and so I procrastinate and then wonder what happened with the day.... does this sound at all familiar to you?

Starting a project or piece of creative work is something I personally really struggle with, and I know I'm not alone in this so I thought I'd write a little series about tips and strategies that can help to overcome this. If you have any good hints or tips to share on this subject, don't be shy and feel free to  leave a comment :-)

I'm always fascinated by ideas about creativity and creative processes, and if you are too I would highly recommend taking a look at John Cleese's talk on the subject here. It deals too with the issue of how to get the most out of your creative time, and as you would imagine of John Cleese, in a most enjoyable and entertaining way.

Time for many of us is a very limited commodity, and even if we have the luxury of putting aside a little dedicated time, chances are it's after a full day of other (often frazzling) work, so it can be hard to make ourselves 'go and be creative'. No matter how much we love our art/craft making, all of a sudden our 'passion' seems like a huge chore and we can struggle to gather the enthusiasm to get to work. Something I have found to be invaluable in countering this is having music playing in my studio, and I think this helps in a number of different ways.

Firstly it is part of my 'going to work in the studio' rituals - a set of activities that I routinely undertake at the start of a session. Rituals can be helpful in enabling us to leave our day's concerns behind and offering a way in to our creative work - and actually I think rituals are a whole other topic for discussion that perhaps I'll cover in a later post in this series.....

Secondly, music basically helps me chill out - it seems to refresh my head after a days work, and it's only when I can relax that my mind can start to wander in a creative way - John Cleese refers to this process as the open mode, and he states that creativity can only occur when you are in this open mode.

Depending on what sort of music I'm listening to, this can also help in a number of ways: if is thoughtful and calming, this can oil the cogs when I'm thinking my way through a more complex creative problem; if the music feels playful and makes me laugh, this can help me be more playful and experimental with trying out new ideas - and who knows, I can even have a lot of fun (something I think we could all do with more of)! Some music is impossible not to dance to, so I just go with that and it can really help improve my flagging energy levels.

I'll often repeat the same album or playlist again and again over certain period of time or number of sessions, and sometimes even the same tune if it's working for me in a particular way. My current favourite albums for the studio are London Grammar's If you Wait, Katie Carr's Paszport, and Laura Mvula's Sing to the Moon. I have also been known to bounce around like an eejit (when no-one's looking!) with Ylvis's single The Fox (What does the fox say?) which I know is not everyones' cup of tea, but it somehow works for me!!

I'm also extremely lucky in that I live with a very talented musician/composer - so sometimes I can just listen to Mr fyberknitics working at his craft while I'm working at mine - how lush is that!

I'd love to hear from you about this topic and would welcome your comments below. Do you find procrastination is a problem with your creative projects, and if so how do you get yourself going? Do you play music when you are doing your art/craft/knitting etc? If so, what are you listening to of late?

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