Do you know what makes a great TASK AVOIDANCE? Reading up on ways to be more creative!
If you’re not familiar with Maria Popova’s website Brain-Pickings, or her new book Figuring, you should be. She writes beautifully, and her ability to pull together writers/musicians/artists/philosophers into her essays is astounding.
This essay on wu wei, the Taoist concept of “doing/not-doing,” is first-class. It’s long, but it’s a great introduction to that state of relaxed alertness that Csikszentmihalyi called “flow.”
Another great time-waster is Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies, here featured on Open Culture. Eno (who coined our term scenius) developed a set of cryptic, Zen-like commands that he used whenever he was stuck on a project. Like casting I Ching coins or randomly opening a holy text or drawing a Tarot card, using Oblique Strategies gave Eno a way to stop gnawing at the puzzle and to think in a new direction.
For example: “Consider different fading systems.” What does that even mean?? How does it apply to my painting/short story/piano waltz?
And presto! your brain is distracted from the wall it’s been staring at, and even if you don’t find a way to apply “Consider different fading systems” directly to your painting/short story/piano waltz, you brain has already created new connections and new directions by stepping back from the work. (It’s a ritual application of GESTALT, isn’t it?)
Finally, from The Creative Independent, a host of essays/blogposts about developing a creative process. (Most of them actually mean “developing a RITUAL.”)