Bust your routine to make creative breakthroughs

Right now, I’m sitting in a café. It’s way too early for me to be in a café. I’m easily-distracted and annoyed. I swear my Spanish is fine, but the barista doesn’t understand. I also swear he’s mumbling.

Normally, I’d be at home, facing a blank wall with earplugs in my ears, doing my morning writing. Making the best of my grogginess. It’s worth noting that I’m writing a 250-word post here, and not a 100, nor a 500.

I’m busting my routine. I recently finished the first draft of Getting Art Done. Writing the first draft was highly routine-driven. I wrote a chapter a day for 30 days, in the first couple of hours of the morning.

I printed it out, so I could review it and brainstorm without the temptation of the entire Internet at my fingertips.

I now have my mound of clay centered on my potter’s wheel, and it’s time to shape it.

By busting my routine, I’m hoping for an effect. Habits can boost creative output, but I’m not looking for creative output. I’m looking for breakthrough insights that will take the book from decent to good or great.

By shaking up the way I allocate my creative energy, I’m giving a chance for thoughts lodged in some unexercised confine of my brain — perhaps coated with cobwebs — to bounce out collide with what an optimized version of myself has built.

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