Sunday, January 26, 2014

Five Minutes

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us get up and go to work. 
~Stephen King

The biggest roadblock to creativity is not lack of talent, vision, or ideas. What keeps many from creating is simply getting started. While most want to create art, we often aren't motivated to begin the work. We keep pushing it off like it is a dreaded chore, like cleaning out the garage. Sure it would be great once the garage is clean. And it might be fun to finally start going through all that junk. But that initial push required to get started can make this a formidable task.

The solution to cleaning the garage? Five minutes. Tell yourself that you are going to start the task but only work for five minutes. Everyone can spare and tolerate five minutes, right? Even if it is something as uninspiring as cleaning the garage.

What happens? You will start cleaning during the five minutes. And that may be all you want to do. But more often that five minutes will quickly overflow into ten. Then you may find yourself entering the "zone" or a state of "flow". Even something as mundane as organizing a garage will become interesting. The inertia of starting a project might even sustain you until the whole room is organized. It is hard to stop a moving train.

Can we apply this example to our musical creative process? Absolutely. Let's do it.

Right now think of that one project that you have in your head. Maybe it is a composition, an arrangement, a tune in your head, and harmonic/rhythmic concept, or a piece to add to your repertoire. Pick something that you would like to explore and eventually master. This could be a small or large task. It doesn't matter.

You want to get going on it, but just haven't started it yet. There are probably lots of legitimate excuses for why you haven't started it, but forget about them for now. Right now, I want you to give yourself five minutes. Go! Work on that project for five minutes. Just get started.

What can you get done in that little amount of time? Probably not much, but don't worry. Just do it. We all have 5 minutes sometime in our day.

Go! (Seriously, I'll wait. I'll be here when you finish).

All right. Take a look at the clock. So what happened? Like our garage example the five minutes probably expanded into ten, fifteen or more minutes. Great! If it didn't, that's fine too. You put in five minutes of focused, quality, creative work. Congrats!

You may think, "How will I ever meet my goals with just five minutes?" Well, what if you did this exercise throughout the day. Pretty soon you will be clocking in some serious creative time. Particular, if one of your "five minute" sessions locks you in the zone and gets you focused for an hour or more.

As Mr. King puts it..."get up and go to work"!

Speaking of which, I need to go clean out the garage...


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