Solitary Confinement for Your Brain

Often I have a limited time to create. Snippets in the morning and on the weekend. Yet my lazy brain always wants to clock out early — switch to something with less cognitive demands. 

Our brains are constantly searching for a way to escape. They see the hard work of creativity as a prison and seek to break out. A loophole to the creative process. 

As the artist, you need to lock those cell doors and keep your brain working. The best way to do this is to retrain your brain.

It’s similar to how you teach your brain to sleep. One of the best bits of advice doctors have for nodding off is to only use your bed for snoozing. Don’t eat, watch TV, scroll on your phone or do anything but sleep in bed.

The same can be said for creativity. When you set aside time for writing or drawing or music, make that your only purpose. Don’t touch your phone. Keep the TV off (or use noise canceling headphones if you are in a noisy and distracting environment). There will be time for snacking later.

It’s like solitary confinement for your brain. The only objective is to create. 

When you sit down to create — be it writing, music or drawing — keep at it for the full allotted time. You may not produce very much in the first few sessions. But gradually your brain will come to accept that this time if only for creation. Nothing else. 

So lock yourself up. Throw away the key. And get creative. 

Tim Kane

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