Being Creative – Applying Writing Techniques to Focused Work

Being Creative Graphic

I was sitting at my desk thinking I needed to come up with some fresh content for my website blog which in turn would anchor my monthly newsletter.

Maybe it was because of the summer and being in “vacation mode” but I had nothing.

Then as I was scrolling through Twitter, I came across a thread posted by “Dickie Bush”.

He shared insights around the writing routine of legendary writers that he had studied.

This really resonated with me.

  • Writing techniques could also be applied to doing focused and creative work
  • My impasse was cleared and I had inspiration for this post!

Take Long Walks

I live this one!  I love my morning walk.  It is a time for my mind to wander and run free.  It is where I come up with ideas, solve problems and analyze situations and experiences.

In Dickie’s words, for the writers it was their opportunity for:

• Thinking

• Listening

• Outlining

• Observing

Capture Ideas – Everywhere

I have lots of ideas and I think I will remember them afterwards.  Whoops! Not always, certainly not in their entirety.

From Dickie:

Every idea is precious, be prepared to capture it.

• Quick capture on their phone

• Whiteboards in the shower

• Notebooks all over the place

Set a Timer for Concentrated Work

This was laid out in the context of focused writing time.

Set a timer for 33:33 minutes.  You can do anything during that time but leave your desk.

You can do writing/work.  You can stare at the wall.  You can sip coffee.  But when the timer runs out, your pressure “focus time” ends and you can get up.

During the break, try to do anything but focused work.  Typically inspiration strikes during this time making future focused sessions more productive.

Avoiding Distractions

In the context of writers, this could be booking a hotel room somewhere or a an isolated cabin that allowed a complete absence of distractions.

In a business context?

I have used the hotel room.  I have had trips in the past where planned meetings for a morning would wash out.  The times were blocked off in my calendar, everyone assumed I was in meetings.  I had a period of time for focused and uninterrupted work that was incredibly productive.

Have important work to do?  Try secluding yourself.

At the very least turn off notifications on your computer or shut down your emails.  Turn off your phone.  Give yourself an opportunity to work in a completely focused fashion!

Be 100% Prepared to be Clueless

Dickie explains that the writers he studied had a complete lack of ego and were unafraid to ask stupid questions.

Being unafraid and willing to ask “stupid” questions can make you a learning machine constantly exposing yourself to new information and new ways of thinking.

I have found this to be an outstanding sales technique, ask the customer to tell you more or ask how they would use your product and watch them sell themself!

Seek Objective Feedback

How do you improve if you do not know where you can do better?

Portray your ask as advice.  “Help me improve”.  “How can I support you better?”

People are more willing to give advice rather than feedback.

In Summary:

1. Take long walks

2. Capture ideas everywhere

3. Work on a timer—every day

4. Ruthlessly avoid distractions

5. Be 100% content to appear clueless

6. Seek feedback objectively

To learn more about Dickie Bush:

Or his website:

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