Monotony is the killer of creativity. Yes, it is. Routine is a different story though. For many years I seemed to have confused those two things. I have always been the kind of person that liked to do many things. A lot. I used to like to drink, a lot. I used to like to party, a lot. I used to like to eat, a lot. My most favourite thing by far that I have always loved to do, a lot of, is work. I am what is commonly known as an addictive personality, and work is my vice.
A few years ago, my un-monotonous life took a toll on both my body and my mind and I was forced to stop. Everything. In retrospect, what might have seemed on the surface as depression, was my unconscious mind organising things into categories. Placing those useful thoughts into little boxes and those unuseful ones into the trash. Throughout my addictive life I had always thought that if I were to give up my obsessions, my creativity might die.
Having been forced by circumstance to change. To build a new system of living. One based on that ever so dreadful word: Routine, none of my worst fears came true. In fact, something very unexpected began to happen. I began to have ideas that were more solid, that derived from a place within myself I had never experienced before. A place of calm. Routine works for me as a reminder not to work more, but to work less. It forces me to stop, even if every fibre of my body is telling me not to. It reminds me to wake up at the same time every morning, to drink my coffee, in the same way, to take care of myself. To look in the mirror and remember I exist. To bathe and to dress. To begin and to end. To call or to see the people I love. To give space between thoughts. To allow my subconscious mind to do the work without me. Something I cannot emphasise enough. That is the place where most of the work is done. Not grinding at my computer for hours on end. Doing that, not only is a waste of time but distracts the subconscious mind from doing the work it is so designed to do: Reviewing, Assessing, Categorising.
I have realised these past few years that there is actually no point in pushing myself right to edge every single time. And yes, sure, there is a struggle. I love to work. I will always love to work. It is the basis of all of the decisions I have made throughout my life and the reason why I am keeping my routine. It makes my work better. So for all of you that believe that routine is the killer of creativity, I say, give it a try. You might be surprised.