Lately, I have been lamenting that I do not have time for creativity.
My excuses are: it is winter, it is too cold, days are shorter, I am too tired, I need to wind down after coming back from work. Blah! Blah! Blah!
In Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, John Robinson, a sociologist, in an interview with the writer Brigid Schulte’s says:
“It’s very popular, the feeling that there are too many things going on, that people can’t get in control of their lives. But when we look at peoples’ diaries, there just doesn’t seem to be the evidence to back it up.”
She has nailed it. Time is not the issue. There are so many other factors at play. Lack of prioritization, the tendency of procrastination, and preoccupation are to name a few. (There are tons more, I just picked some starting with the letter ‘P’)
What is the solution?
In one of my previous posts, I talked about the four stages of the creative process where an idea needs to go through preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification.
Creativity takes time.
But what if you can take ideas through these stages quickly so that there is something tangible at the end of the process. Something that gets your creative juices flowing.
Well, I found this technique by William Burroughs, which has been around for ages.
In the mid-twentieth century, William S. Burroughs, one of the most adventurous writers, famously employed the cut-up method to override the inner critic.
In Burroughs’ own words:
“The method is simple. Here is one way to do it. Take a page like this page. Now cut down the middle and cross the middle. You have four sections: 1 2 3 4 … one two three four. Now rearrange the sections placing section four with section one and section two with section three. And you have a new page. Sometimes it says much the same thing. Sometimes something quite different–(cutting up political speeches is an interesting exercise)–in any case, you will find that it says something and something quite definite. Take any poet or writer you fancy. Hearsay, or poems you have read over many times. The words have lost meaning and life through years of repetition. Now take the poem and type out selected passages. Fill a page with excerpts. Now cut the page. You have a new poem. As many poems as you like.”
This is one way of doing it. There could be infinite ways to do it. I cut short paragraphs from four different articles and then put four of them together to make a story. It worked like magic.
Now it can be creative on demand.
Here is the video on William S. Burroughs you can listen to: