Spinning in Greased Grooves

Typically, I can choose on what and when I work to take advantage of the moment’s groove.  But sometimes I need to work on something I’m not really in the mood for and need a way to get in rhythm to be effective.

Until, as John Steinbeck says in Cannery Row, “the world is once again spinning in greased grooves,” I use a few tricks to move into the flow instead of flapping against it.

  • Lock in at The Filling Station or Quay Coffee with headphones on, and Yo-Yo Ma on Pandora.  The activity buzz is enough distraction to create focus, and the refreshments range from healthy to worth-every-cheatin’-bite.
  • Create a first draft; it’s less demanding than a fully-executed assignment.
  • Plan 15-minute breaks to reward progress.  My rewards are time in my workshop to further a quilt or knitting project; dancing full out; a perfectly brewed pot of tea; or reading another chapter in my compelling book-du-jour.
  • Warm up with some non-deadline work to ease creative muscles into the main event.
  • Choose a completion reward.  I might get to buy something on my running wishlist, meet a friend for lunch, go to the ranch for an unplanned ride, or even work on the thing I’d rather have been working on all along.

Homework: Besides real or artificially imposed deadlines, what’s your trick for unblocking a creative logjam?  Share your ideas with your fellows below.


2 Comments on “Spinning in Greased Grooves”

  1. Phil Kinen says:

    i use YouTube quite frequently and quite heavily as a research tool when I am working on writing or directing a play/musical. It provides great visual and aural data in many formats. But I can get so engulfed by the quality and quantity of info available that I forget to stop and suddenly find myself exhausted by spending so much time at the computer. Last night and well into this morning, it was Judy Garland and her television show and her final years. I found that if I allow myself to look at 2 or 3 videos of a different, self indulgent topic every 30 – 45 min of “assigned” viewing, I can return back to research with a light and refreshed mind. Last night’s distraction topic: Jonathan Winters. distraction topic


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