Sunday, January 25, 2009

Major breakthrough.

So if you have been following this blog, you have known that it has been boring, weird, and random. I never knew what to write about, simple as that. I always knew that I wanted to blog and I have always thought of myself as a generally creative person. I also have always thought of myself as being a mediocre yet earnest writer. However, I always felt at a loss when I thought about what I wanted to blog about.

However, just this morning, as luck would have it, I happened to come across a very, very important website. The message of the website was simple. When learning this secret, or any secret that you always know in the back of your mind, but kind of forget about, I was like "Oh my God! I found it! I found the secret I have been looking for!"

First, before the tears of joy start running down my cheeks in appreciation, or before I jump up and work on a goal now that I know the secret, I would like to briefly discuss how my life was before this secret. I always felt blah, uninspired, convinced of my ability to create something meaningful and of value, but unsure of how to go about doing it. Days would pass where I woke up thinking "this will be the day where I finally do X, Y, and Z", only to go to sleep at night disappointed yet hopeful that tomorrow might bring about the output I desired. But it would never happen. Maybe I would start something, like sketching out some ideas for a story or writing a few verses of a song. However, while I would not just give up, I simply would not know where to go with the project and would inevitably set it aside to be worked on at a later date.

But now with my new secret I've discovered, I can bypass all that shit. The secret is not time management or setting time limits. It is not "not caring what other people think." It is not "thinking outside the box." It is not "doing other things to serve people." Let me tell you, I have picked up a lot of bullshit tips from a variety of "self-help gurus" over the years. I'm sure if I said stuff to their face, they would say 'you didn't implement my principles correctly', or 'you lack proper motivation' or something.

But I do know one thing -- applying this secret is the reason behind all of these gurus, or other successful persons, success. Perhaps they are cognizant of this secret and maybe do not spell it out or else the market demand for their information would be radically decreased as people dutifully worked on what they were passionate about instead of always rechecking their favorite guru's page to see what new tip might just give them the extra oomph they need to achieve what they desire.

Anyway, the secret is...constraints are necessary for creativity. Isn't that so liberating? Before when doing something creative, well, everything is creative, but I would just be at a total loss. I would think "Where the hell am I supposed to go with this idea?"

But yeah, create constraints for yourself. That's why you did such a good job writing those last minute papers in college. Or why you're able to clean your room in 15 minutes before your girlfriend comes over when usually it takes you weeks to even take any action.

So what type of constraints can we set to get the train rolling on creative activities? Remember, I consider everything as a creative activity -- but right here we're talking about blogging, writing books, screenplays, music, cleaning, etc.

1. Define a time limit: perhaps create a reward or punishment if you don't finish on time. Have an exact action that will be taken when the time limit is up, whether or not you are finished. For example, sending a manuscript to a publisher, posting your song on your website, publishing a blog post, etc. Perhaps visualize it in your mind for a few seconds just so you know how it is going to end up in the end.

2. Constraints of length: Creative works often have a specific volume -- 70,000 for a novel, for example. Perhaps we can set constraints in this aspect -- like, I am writing a book a month, at 13,000 words a day. Yeah, maybe initially it won't be perfect, but you are producing something!

3. Constraints of speed: Doing things as quickly as possible can sometimes yield some good stuff! This is similar to one, but to me it is a bit different -- it means not mulling things over, overthinking things. Do it from the gut, from your instincgt.

4. Constraints of options and tool: Perhaps you are writing a song. Limit yourself to five instruments, and decide before hand the title of the song, key signature, chord changes [use common ones, don't start anything new right now], etc. Shakespeare wrote in sonnet form, which I think was like 14 syllables or something. He had constraints and look how much he produced and how relevant he still is!

5. Constraints of theme: Doing something in a particular theme is kind of similar to that stupid "write for a niche" for blogging. I feel like it is different though, because theme sounds cooler and niche makes me think of electronics and boring stuff. So yeah, have the constraint of a theme.

6. Most importantly : experiment with constraints! Let's all try them out and see what happens. Maybe a good constraint would be to write 10 pages of your novel when you first wake up in the morning? Or something else. Let me know how you are experimenting with this!

I feel overwhelmed now, but I am going to put this into practice. I think procrastination is not the lack of motivation, but moreso the lack of constraints. We need constraints so we know what we are working with.


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