For the past two months, we’ve been in a small village in the middle of France. I imagined there would be writing galore, with wine and cheese raining down, to the backdrop of vineyards and chateaus.
There was wine. There was cheese. There was beautiful scenery. There were also two patooties who needed entertainment. In other words, the writing wasn’t happening.
Not wholly unexpected but I did find myself frustrated that I had gotten so far from my writing routine. (I mean, not too frustrated. I was in France!) Instead of wallowing, I chose to keep my creativity healthy and engaged so that when I could get back to a routine, my creative energy wasn’t atrophied.
By focusing small.
Break From Brain Noise
To focus small, we have to first break an addictive bad habit.
In a world that is constantly connected with news and updates twenty-four-seven, it’s way too easy to fill our heads with noisy information. Sure, most of it is important, but is it important right now?
In our small part of France, we rarely saw people on their phones. Not at dinner, not at lunch, not while driving a car, not while sitting at a park, not while hanging out with friends. The phone stayed in the bag or the pocket. EVEN THE TEENAGERS. Likewise, I never saw a single person with a laptop at a cafe.
That had an impact, and I found myself noticing how often my hand tracked into my purse to check my phone. Even if it was just for a second or two, it was enough to break my focus from what was happening. It disengaged me from the food I was enjoying, or the live music that was rocking, or the conversation I was eavesdropping.
It took me out of the present and flooded my brain with extra noise. Noise that drowns creativity.
Focus Small to Feed Creativity
Many studies have been conducted on the power of awe, discovery, and adventure on creativity. Personal experience supports these studies, but overwhelmingly the connecting thread that ties all these energy sources for creativity is the small moments.
Creativity isn’t found in the news or on social media and it isn’t found on expensive trips or sightseeing excursions.
Instead, creativity is found when you, the creative, focus small.
I’m not talking about goals here—have big goals. I am talking about immersing yourself in the present moments and actively seeking awe, discovery, and adventure within the “normal”.
In other words, those rare moments when we allow our brains to declutter, to be silent, are the moments that creativity reigns supreme.
So today, be French and build a new habit. A habit where you silence the brain noise and focus small. A habit that gives energy to your creativity.
And if you need help quieting the noise and feeding your creativity, a writing retreat on a cruise ship is always a good cure.