It’s a funny thing about creativity. It sneaks up on you at the most inopportune times — while driving in rush hour traffic, moments before falling asleep and of course, when you are chin deep in bubbles trying to unwind after a busy day. But when you need it, it disappears, leaving you staring at a blank page in complete frustration.
Jerry Seinfeld was quoted as saying the secret of his success was “Don’t Break the Chain”. The idea is that instead of focusing on writing good jokes, he simply focused on writing jokes every single day, adding an X to a calendar to form his chain. His goal, then, became very simple: to not break the chain by missing a day of writing.
It’s a similar philosophy to a favorite in writing circles, which is BICHOK (butt in chair, hands on keyboard). The ideas is the same. Instead of waiting for that spark, that flash of brilliance, you simply start doing. It doesn’t matter what it is, either good, bad or ugly. The point is that you are getting in the habit of being creative.
As much as creativity is that inspired moment before drifting off or the shower inspired prose, it’s also a process, one that you can train yourself to replicate over and over and over again. It’s up to you to find the process that works best for your creative style, but if you need a place to start, try this one for facing the blank page.
How to Get the Most of Your BICHOK Time
#1: Settle Before You Start — Go for a walk, pour yourself a cup of tea, or read the morning paper before you sit down to start. The idea is to do whatever it is you need to do to get into your creative mode.
#2: Have a Goal in Mind — Sit down with a concrete outcome in mind. It doesn’t have to be a quality goal — in fact, it’s better if it’s not — but rather just a specific project to focus on. For example, you may want to dedicate your BICHOK time to coming up with new ways to increase the effectiveness of your marketing.
#3: Turn Off All Interruptions — Switch off the ringer, close down your email and all social media sites and just focus on your creativity. If you can’t trust yourself not to cheat, go work offline at a coffee shop or the local library.
#4: Be Free With Ideas — Avoid the temptation to edit. The purpose of BICHOK is to really let ideas flow unfiltered and unedited. There will be plenty of time later to go back, and fuss and perfect until you have it just right. For now, the idea is to just get things out.
#5: Stick to Your Schedule — Keep going! Don’t worry about what you come up with, but whatever you do, don’t break the chain. The best way to master creativity on demand is to be consistent! Yes, some days are going to be better than others, but that’s not the point. The point is that you are training yourself not to wait for creativity to find you. You are setting out to find it!