Sunday, June 3, 2012

Days 6 & 7: The Theory of Creative Capacity

A doctor of psychology recently told me that there's a concept that people have a finite capacity for their creativity. Like a bucket they can fill with ideas. Artists, musicians, writers - let's say they get a big gallon bucket for their creativity. They can't do whatever they want to with the bucket. It's reserved just for their talent. To use it to its fullest potential, they must be in the right frame of mind, and they cannot use their bucket for anything else.

This theory came up in discussion because Doc is intrigued by my No TV idea. Given that I'm a writer and work in a creative field (editing/publishing), she's curious how it will affect my bucket and creative productivity. Was I previously attempting to use my bucket's capacity wrongly for other things, like writing while half-watching TV? If so, now that I'm not sharing my bucket with anything else, can I accomplish more? She says if I could get a book written while watching TV, maybe I could write two better books now without it on. The idea is simple - clear my bucket of chaos and use the hypothetical time it represents for what it's meant for and maybe I can get more out of every square inch of it.

I like this thought, that there might be more creativeness inside me, though it also adds a little pressure. Lately, I've been using my new found time to do practical things. I haven't exactly devoted it to creative time. In fact, other than for work, I haven't done any writing for pleasure. Now I feel like maybe I'm wasting an opportunity to achieve something here.

As I see it, though, the reason that I'm not writing more is that I don't really have 30 more hours a week than I had before, even if I was watching that much TV. It's an inflated figure.Yes, I was watching alot of TV, and I thought I would be able to do many more things with the extra 30 hours I estimated I was spending on that one activity. However, what I've learned in the last week is that I did a lot of other things while the TV was on in the background. Even during my precious, DVR'd programming, I would often work, eat, pay bills, read, fold laundry or whatever while the show was rolling. And I'm still doing all of these same activities now. The only extra time I have this week that I didn't have last week is that time that was devoted to watching TV exclusively. I'm now finding that very few shows actually earned my full attention.

What does all of this amount to? I still feel like there's not enough time in the day to do everything I need or want to do. And I still don't feel like I have any more time to be creative (i.e., work on my next book) now than I did a week ago. My only hope is that the doc is right. That my little bucket that was polluted with TV floaties on the top of the water is now clean. I should be able to peer down into it and see straight to the bottom. It hasn't grown. It has the same capacity it always had. But if I can focus on filling it just right, maybe I can keep the water inside clean and get everything done.

Aside from all this philosophical thought for which I seem to have more time to contemplate, here's a quick summary of non-TV related things that I enjoyed over the last few days.
  • Thursday afternoon, I found a new way to zone out that doesn't require brain power. I've been desperate for a little down time! Better than the idea of a rocking chair on a porch is burning receipts in the fireplace. We had a whole box of them saved up, and we fed the fire. Staring into a fire is a great way to recharge your brain! I felt totally refreshed and smoky afterward.
  • Friday, lunch with mom and dad. Happy to hear that they are reading my blog! :) Not sure if my no-TV challenge is inspiring anyone else in my family to join me, but it gives us something new to talk about! Later that day, I continued to work on a new book for publication and completed Lesson 2 for French with Rosetta Stone. (It's getting harder.) 
  • Saturday, the monumental moment - We took our 4 DVRs from AT&T to the UPS Store to send them back home. They are on their way for use as spare parts or for television watching in some other lucky family's home. I was okay with waving goodbye to them. Interestingly, Hubby (who didn't watch a ton of TV to begin with) made a little sad face when we were packing them up.
  • Saturday evening - Spent time with friends playing board games at their place. This is nothing new, we love our gaming. But we had some new games to share and it had been a few months since our last board game marathon, so it was an extra good time. There was an added level of fun when someone found a package of "Fun Pills" from 1994 in a spare drawer. Funny how four adults could get so excited about seeing a few little pills turn into animal-shaped foam in a glass of warm water. Alcohol may have been a factor.
  • Sunday - Weed weed and more weeds. Not the good kind. The kind that is 3 times taller in our yard than normal this time of year due to the mild winter and early warm up. Aside from pulling weeds, we took a trip to Home Depot. I have a feeling I know how the extra $150 a month is going to be spent during the summer! Becoming a "regular" there soon. Still working on carving out a space for my vegetable and flower garden and needed more supplies. Trying hard not to become overwhelmed by all the possibilities, though pretty sure I'm going to start a lasagna garden in the fall. No, a lasagna garden isn't for growing things to make a lasagna! If you don't know what that is, check out this link.
I made it through Week One!
I feel exhausted and nothing at all like an interesting character in a book.
But proud I made it through the first full week with little fuss.


  1. I was sad to see the DVR go, because as you recall, I still had about 40 hours of various MotoGP, AMA, and World Superbike motorcycle races left on it. You know I like to save those up and watch them during the bitter cold months when I can't ride.

  2. Yeah, I know. You'll probably be spending more time at P's house watching HIS recorded motorcycle stuff in the Winter! You should do more homebrewing now, so you two have lots of beer to sustain you through the long winter months of chilling at his house. :)