All creativity begins with the moment of conception.
That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.
And so, in this new blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.
Today’s clip comes from the doorway scene in As Good As It Gets:
What can we learn?
Build a routine and
ride it.The worst advice in the world is when someone tells you tojust do it.Because as profound and
simple and honest as those three words may be, they’re not especially useful
for the struggling artist. Fact is, ifjust
doing itwas all it was going to take, you would have just done it by now. Unfortunately,
the creative process is a bit more complex than a shoe commercial. I’m reminded
of a writer friend of mine who recently asked what he could do to overcome his
creative block. Part of me wanted to smack him on the back of the head and
tell him just do it,but I knew that
wouldn’t be helpful. And so, I asked him the same question I ask everyone in
his situation: What’s your writing schedule? His answer was, sometimes he
writes in the mornings, sometimes he writes in the evenings, and on and on. I interrupted
him and said sometimes wasn’t a schedule. We both had a good laugh. But
together we realized, every artist needs to build a routine and ride it. Even
if that means shutting out the neighbors. After all, the creating we don’t do
today is lost forever.When was the last
time you sat uninterrupted and quiet with just your thoughts?
Create your own
standards of discipline.Vonnegut famously said that the triumph of most
things is a matter of organization. What’s interesting is, he was talking about
morality. About good versus evil. Angels and mobsters and the like. And yet,
his advice perfectly applies to the physical organization required to thrive as
a creator and communicator of ideas. Because we all need a secure base to
operate from. We all need reliable containers for the energies rising within
us. Melvin may be an obsessive compulsive, disdainful, unlikable pain in the
ass, but you’ve got to hand it him, the man knows how to keep a schedule.
Ridiculous as his routine may be, it’s still a helpful lesson for creators.
Especially those of us who work out of our homes. We have no choice but to
create our own standards of discipline. Every day, we have to set up narrow
parameters that keep our productivity in check, but also create just enough
room to be free and play.Which routines
naturally call forth your most productive, enjoyable and concentrated
Train yourself to
deal with bad conditions.I’ve spent the majority of my adult life working
at home. And despite my best efforts to inoculate myself against distractions
and interruptions, I accepted the fact that there will always be a barking dog
down the hall, a construction crew hammering down the street, or a retired
neighbor who smokes pot in the bathroom right after lunch. That’s my life
sentence as a writer, and I’ve made peace with it. Melvin, on the other hand,
is unable to withstand the external pressures that attempt to deter him from his
productive path. As a result of his obsessive compulsive disorder, he insists
on working under ideal conditions. But as a result of that routine, his
perfectly crafted creative nirvana, he’s not mentally and physically prepared to
cope with the unusual events that transpire during the movie. And therein lies
the lesson. Instead of trying to swim against the disruptive current, what we
should do is systematically practice with distractions. Intentionally surround our
creative process with obstacles, embrace the distractions and find the inner
focus that exists regardless of the external environment.How could you become so accustomed to stress, distractions, and
pressure, that they no longer phase you?
What did you learn?
* * * *
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.
Now booking for 2014-2015.
Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!