My last couple of posts have been on rather heavy and psychological subjects (humility/ego in creativity and avoiding fear of success and self sabotaging), so I decided that this post should focus on something more practical.
In a world that is continuously go-go-go, where deadlines loom large and people are always seeking that edge, it’s easy to forget about the benefits of ‘taking a bath’. Of course, I’m not necessarily talking about running the hot tap
and taking a relaxing dip, but any activity that you can immerse yourself in and totally forget about your work.
However, I want to go a step further and talk about being strategic in your choice as to when you do that particular activity.
I find the most beneficial time to get away from my work is when I am stuck on something. I’m writing a screenplay at the moment, and I recently reached a point in the story that I couldn’t move beyond. I thought and thought, pushed and pushed but found myself getting more and more bogged down – there was no way forward.
So, I got up and went to wash the pots. That’s right, I donned the Marigolds and made some serious suds. But, I ensured that I was totally in that activity; feeling the warmth of the water, the smell of the washing-up liquid, and the sound of the water splashing around.
My conscious mind was engaged with a mundane task, leaving my sub conscious to work away on the problem. And hey presto, when I returned to my desk to continue, moments later I had a breakthrough.
Now, that’s not to say that you stand in front of the sink and scrub if you want to solve some creative issue, of course. There are a multitude of activities ranging from taking a walk, to vacuuming the carpet, you just need to find something that suits. But most importantly, DO NOT think about your work while doing it – it totally defeats the purpose!
When you are continuously pushing to find the answer for a problem, you delve deeper and deeper into a dark tunnel. Of course, you have to push a certain amount, but if you go too far, perspective will be lost, frustration can build and you could end up in a really unproductive, stressful place – not conducive for making breakthroughs.
So be mindful of where you are when pushing for that advancement in whatever task you’re undertaking. Recognise that sometimes, it can be more productive to take the dog for a walk than staying late in the office. Remember the story of Archimedes and who knows, the next time you’re polishing the silverware, you might just leap up and shout that timeless, and infinitely satisfying term, ‘eureka’!
“My name is Amir Bazrafshan. I am a filmmaker and currently Head of Production at indie distributors Crabtree Films and soon to be Director at my own business Apricot Creative Video.”