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.
Christina is the hostess of Cruising Writers and an award-winning psychological suspense author. She also writes award-winning supernatural suspense under the name Kris Faryn.
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
It gives me hope that there are some places where people are living their lives without their phones. I would absolutely LOVE to take a break from electronics!
Wine! Cheese! Angela is so jealous. 🙂
MAL G KING says
Excellent advice, but I’m too busy to follow it. Seriously,, following your advice will be difficult for me, but I’ve already decided I’m traveling to the France in my mind–a place where there are no phones, no checking email, and no response to other attractions outside the small focus of creativity.
BECCA PUGLISI says
I love so much about this. Mostly, the cheese, but the writing advice was good too, ;).
MINDY ALYSE WEISS says
Thanks for sharing this thoughtful post, Christina. I used to spend too much time writing on family vacations (although I don’t ski, and loved watching snow fall while writing when my family went). This is a fantastic reminder to soak up everything in the moment.
I’m glad you enjoyed your vacation and can’t wait to see if bits of it will turn up in your books. 🙂