Creative Habits

 In Blog

We define our lives by the habits we keep. The most prosperous and fulfilled people in the entertainment world are driven by creative habits. Creative habits are Pavlovian and rituals bring you a strong creative payoff, according to Twyla Tharp from her book The Creative Habit.

Following a routine signals your brain that it is time to hit full-throttle.

  • Beethoven would start each day with a morning walk during which he would scribble notes into a pocket sketchbook. Once his mind was limbered up from the walk he would get to work writing music.
  • My friend Robert Morgan Fisher is a writer and music artist. He starts every day with meditation, followed by coffee. Then he starts writing. Meditation. Coffee. Click. Writing.
  • Before every free throw, LeBron James dribbles the ball three times, he brings the ball to his chest, and he pauses to visualize the ball going through the net. Then James follows through with the shot.

Tharp says that competing athletes replace doubt and fear with comfort and familiarity by making the process automatic. The ritual acts as a trigger to prompt the muscle memory that basketball players have practiced thousands of times. That process also works for creative athletes, like you.

Powering your creative output:

  • Write in long hand every day at the same time:

    Writing in long hand connects to the creative right side of your brain. This is the best way to journal or to start writing a sketch, skit or brainstorming an idea. Then take it to your computer (an analytical left brain vehicle) to organize and edit.

  • Brain Parking:

    Park your brain on a repetitive activity to open up your subconscious mind to allow ideas to come to you. Driving by yourself, walking, running, swimming, taking a shower, etc. My best ideas come to me while hiking alone in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Creative Show Habits:

  • The Post Show Review:

    Make it a ritual to always start your daily planning meeting with the Post Show Review to keep the show constantly improving by answering these five questions:

    1. What worked well on today’s show?
    2. Why?
    3. What didn’t work as well?
    4. Why?
    5. What would we do differently in the future?

  • The Execution Rule of Four Habit:

    Great content comes from great planning habits. You can create more killer on-air content with a ritual method of planning every content segment by answering these questions:

    1. SET-UP: How are we going to set it up to engage the audience within 10 seconds?
    2. PAYOFF EXIT: What is our intention (humor, conflict, emotion)? What is the exit?
    3. POINT OF VIEW: What is each cast member’s point-of-view on the topic?
    4. WHAT ELSE: Ask “What else can we do to make it bigger and add impact?

The shows and individual talents that score the highest ratings are the ones that practice good creative habits.

“The routine is a much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration (perhaps more). If creativity is a habit, then the best creativity is a result of good work habits. They are the nuts and bolts of dreaming.” – Twyla Tharp

Photo Credit: Mark Chadwick/Flickr

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.