Routines or Not

To a lot of creative people the word “Routine” sounds like dull, monotony,  unexciting, task, and other drab words. It sounds un-creative, to say the least. So I find it interesting that the same word is generating as much debate as I observe in creative and entrepreneurial circles even now.

This piece explores a very interesting discourse. One in which opinion is still largely divided among creative professionals. We are about to deliberate on the rightness -or not, of having regular routines in the creative process, whether for an artist, writer, inventor…

In the favor of a creative professional having regular routines, I have gathered the following points:

  1. Having a regular routine means practicing your art as a habit; and the more you work, the faster you will learn, and the better you will get. I found a great article in Time magazine about how deliberate practice makes perfect.
  2. Routines are great for overcoming procrastination. After a while, a routine becomes a kind of ritual, priming your unconscious mind to produce the creative goods on demand. American writer and Nobel prize laureate, William Faulkner said: “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at nine o’clock every morning.”
  3. Having a daily/weekly routine increases your productivity. The greater your turnout is, the higher your chances of creating a masterpiece.
  4. Routines contribute consistency and control to your business and your product. This is something that your customers will truly cherish.

And so on..


On the other hand, folks that are in favor of not letting regular routines douse your creativity argue along the following lines:

  1. Regular routines don’t leave room for inspiration, spontaneity and improvisation.
  2. Randomness is a great way to force your thinking to follow unfamiliar paths.
  3. The constraint of having routines keep you boxed in; your ideas too.
  4. Creativity thrives when you try something new and pursue it, thereby forcing yourself to build new skills and stretch your skills in new directions. Having routines don’t encourage you to take a chance now and then.

Real creativity does involves spontaneity and surprise, whether a “Wow!” moment when a light bulb goes on in your mind or the lightning bolt of inspiration. Paradoxically, it has been postulated that the harder you work at routines and systems, the more likely you are to experience that lightning bolt from nowhere.

On a personal note, I very much longed to put this theory to the test. So I went and read up on the daily rituals of the world’s most creative people. I didn’t get much help there because they were mostly men whose whole time was dedicated to their art. No home-making, child-rearing or other employment ….. OK! That’s the end of mt rant (straight face).

I guess my routine, when I start it will have to be tailored to my own peculiarities after all. My schedule would have to be ….fluid…shall we say 😀 It has to be because I would be working around the schedules of certain little people and others.

So what is your take, dear reader? Do you think having a daily/weekly routine makes you more creative and productive, or not? And, please share with us if you already have a work routine. All in the comment box

That which is static and repetitive is boring. That which is dynamic and random is confusing. In between lies art,” – John Locke.




So what have you got to say to that?!

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