What’s Your Creative Modus Operandi?

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So, the tremendous conversation in the comments to Alison’s post about how what you wear impacts how others perceive you got me thinking. Like it or not, what we wear does seem to impact how others perceive and even value us.

But, there’s something more, something deeper that seems to be going on, too.

What we wear may change how others perceive us, at least in part, because it also changes how we act and interact with the world. It effects what goes on in our own internal psychic ecosphere.

And, I began to wonder…

How does what you wear impact what you create?

Legendary copywriter, John Carlton, tells the story of how he used to have a very specific outfit that he’d to wear to write copy. And, he had to wear the same thing every time, right down to his hat in order to get into that place where, as he says, he literally stalked and attacked his writing.

Could it really be that what you wear changes how you feel enough to impact what you create?

And, what about other factors like where you work, what your view is, how light or dark or loud or quiet it is. Do these things change your creative output, too? In my experience, everything from what I wear to where I am and what I eat have a pretty profound impact on my creative output.

These things form my Optimal Creative Modus Operandi (MO).

So, I thought it would be fun to do an experiment here and share our collective creative MOs. I’ll start and I’d love for you to share yours in the comments.

Below is a short list of personal and environmental conditions that have an impact on my creative output, along with my preference for maximizing the flow of creative juices.

Here is my Optimal Creative MO:

  • Clothes – Bare feet, old jeans and a well-worn t-shirt.
  • Sound – Moderate background noise, classic rock, love writing to Led Zeppelin
  • Light – Bright, sunny setting, preferably with sunlight on my face and body
  • Time of Day – Early morning (5:30am), then again late in the evening.
  • Location – Crunchy, low-key cafe, home-office or Soho House in NYC.
  • Directionality – Facing out into a room with a wall or substantial piece of furniture at my back
  • Routine/spontaneous – Routine, BUT provided I have an idea capture device
  • Long periods or short bursts – 2 to 4 hour intensive creative sessions where time often fugues
  • Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – Always have a voice recorder or app on me
  • Squeaky Clean or squalor (setting) – Squeaky clean
  • Clean or dirty – Unshowered in the morning, showered at night and in the final weeks of writing a book, you probably don’t wanna get too close to me, lol.
  • Solo or surrounded – Solo, except when creating music, then collaborative
  • Digital or analogue – Analogue to ideate, digital to flesh out and build out
  • What fuels you? – Raw almonds, organic berries and ice-cold water
  • Leaded or unleaded? – Leaded latte in the morning, nothing in the evening.
  • Breaks – Getting outside between creative bouts, preferably by water or woods.
  • Mindset practices that fuel creation – Meditation, playing guitar.
  • Movement practices that fuel creation – Yoga, hiking, running, spinning

So, now it’s your turn.

What’s YOUR Creative Modus Operandi?

Copy and paste the below list into your comment then share YOUR creative M.O…

Clothes –
Sound –
Light –
Location – 
Directionality –
Time of Day –
Routine/spontaneous – 
Long periods or short bursts – 
Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – 
Squeaky Clean or Squalor – 
Clean or dirty – 
Solo or surrounded – 
Digital or analogue –
What fuels you? – 
Leaded or unleaded? –
Breaks –
Mindset practices that fuel creation –
Movement practices that fuel creation –

Looking forward to discovering YOUR optimal creative MO…

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64 responses

64 responses to “What’s Your Creative Modus Operandi?”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by remarkablogger, Grant Griffiths and TwittyBean, Santi Chacon. Santi Chacon said: What’s Your Creative Modus Operandi?: So, the tremendous conversation in the comments to Alison’s post about how w… http://bit.ly/9o1wNJ […]

  2. I love the idea of fueling my creativity. I love to wear my red t-shirt and red underwear to get my creative juices flowing. It puts me in the mood to do hard work.

    I also love dark chocolate, smoothies, and a cup of green tea with no sugar. I use these foods to push me towards my goals.

  3. This is fascinating, especially as I’ve noticed that in the years when I struggled with mental health issues, I dressed in a particular way depending on how I felt.

    Anyway, here’s my list.

    Clothes – Usually leggings and a loose top. Comfy as possible.
    Sound – Music from one of dozens of playlists, depending on the mood I need to create during the writing process.
    Light – I’m a fan of crepuscular light. Bring the dawn, the twilight. Soft orange-yellow light around dusk is perfect.
    Location – At my desk. I’ve written all over the world (I wrote a book on a tour of China once), but I love my desk with the laptop on an elevator.
    Directionality – Back to the kitchen, facing into the room but also my big windows.
    Time of Day – Crepuscular, as above. Either very early or evening into the night.
    Routine/spontaneous – Depends. I get a feel when something is ready to pop so I’m prepared to be spontaneous but I do have a routine as well.
    Long periods or short bursts – Again, it depends. I can do both.
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – Yes, definitely. I have about a billion notebooks and used envelopes to hand always.
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – I’m turning into a neat freak.
    Clean or dirty – As above.
    Solo or surrounded – Solo. I like to have Twitter on in the background sometimes, but not always.
    Digital or analogue – Digital. I have a handwritten diary, like to make notes by hand, but I write digitally.
    What fuels you? – Tea.
    Leaded or unleaded? – As long as it’s tea, I don’t care.
    Breaks – I go out between chapters, usually to the gym or to a bar with friends.
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Listening to the right music, the right films. Reading! Reading is amazing for getting me writing. Currently obsessing over China Miéville.
    Movement practices that fuel creation – Spinning I adore, but there’s also going for long walks or chatting with friends.

  4. Clothes – jeans, tshirt, barefeet – in all situations, not just when creating 🙂
    Sound – music always, jack johnson, dead, dylan, eminem at times but don’t tell anyone
    Light – natural and not too harsh
    Location – coffee shop, or late at night when the house is quiet and i am the only one away
    Directionality – not sure, never paid attention before….
    Time of Day – anytime
    Routine/spontaneous – spontaneous. having to create turns off things for me. thankfully, spontaneity tends to show its face daily
    Long periods or short bursts – for as long as life allows
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – yes, blackberry
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – i wish i could say the house was clean, but closer to squalor. office has to be clean as do coffee shops
    Clean or dirty – me? good question…
    Solo or surrounded – surrounded for some things, solo for others.
    Digital or analogue – digital
    What fuels you? – diet coke, coffee (wishing i could say water and kale)
    Leaded or unleaded? – mocha in the morning
    Breaks – yoga, play with kids, laugh with bff
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – yoga, running
    Movement practices that fuel creation – yoga, running

  5. OK, here goes:

    Clothes – Irrelevant. Generally casually
    Sound – eclectic mix of music, interspersed with silence
    Light – Reasonably bright
    Location – Home office
    Directionality – Fairly bland corner, window to side
    Time of Day – Early morning most productive
    Routine/spontaneous – Highly routine, occasional spontaneous flashes
    Long periods or short bursts – like Jonathan, 2-4 hour bursts
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – iPhone or notebook
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Fairly neat and clean. Not squeaky.
    Clean or dirty – Unshaved and bed-head in the morning “first shift.” Shower later after exercise.
    Solo or surrounded – Solo
    Digital or analogue – Mostly digital, but I do like jotting ideas/conceptualizing in notebooks
    What fuels you? – Coffee
    Leaded or unleaded? – Leaded, dark, strong
    Breaks – Dog walk; exercise; photo stroll. Each one fuels more creativity
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – the background thinking process never actually stops.
    Movement practices that fuel creation – walking

  6. Clothes – a loose comfy pair of jeans and ultra soft bamboo Tshirt
    Sound – very, very quiet
    Light – soft
    Location – my office
    Directionality – facing out my large picture window to the backyard
    Time of Day – 5 am — creating as the sun rises and the birds start coming out
    Routine/spontaneous – routine — it allows me START (my hardest part)
    Long periods or short bursts – 3-5 hours max
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – always have a notebook;
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – squalor (unshowered and raw!)
    Clean or dirty – desk must be clean and clear!
    Solo or surrounded – solo
    Digital or analogue – both – whiteboard, flipchart first and then computer to pull and create and move
    What fuels you? – coffee
    Leaded or unleaded? – totally leaded
    Breaks – sometimes I’m so in the flow, I forget even to pee
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – the routine of knowing I can consistently create in that 5-8 timeframe is very comforting
    Movement practices that fuel creation – deep breathing, jogging, connecting with nature through hiking, kayaking, backpacking, gardening

  7. Alex says:

    Clothes – old jeans, old t shirt
    Sound – Something spacey and minimal, like Kind of Blue but folky. (Mountain Men etc)
    Light -Cloudy, no sunlight if possible.
    Location – On the floor.
    Directionality – Facing outside if I can.
    Time of Day – Early or late. The sun isn’t a friend to my poductivity.
    Routine/spontaneous – Spontaneous
    Long periods or short bursts -Long periods followed by long periods of burn out.
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – Molekin or Evernote on my phone.
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Clean.
    Clean or dirty – Meh.
    Solo or surrounded – Solo please.
    Digital or analogue – Digital.
    What fuels you? – eggs, espresso and fresh juice.
    Leaded or unleaded? – Leaded but only tea or espresso.
    Breaks – Whenever I need them.
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Taking a moment to clear my mind.
    Movement practices that fuel creation -Stretching, hiking, rock climbing, playing with my dog or cat or a simple walk around the block.

  8. alisa barry says:

    what a great exercise!

    Clothes – urban zen {once I get out of my sleepers}
    Sound – soothing or rocking, whatever the mood requests
    Light – candles & ambiante light, no overhead office lights please!
    Location – between office, studio and cafes
    Directionality – near natural light source
    Time of Day – early morning as the sun rises
    Routine/spontaneous – daily rituals to ground the start of the day/spontaneous detours throughout the day when needed.
    Long periods or short bursts – long bursts
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – notebook and disposable fountain pen
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – moderately neat
    Clean or dirty – bathed but hair looks best when dirty for two days
    Solo or surrounded – solo with bouts of creative collaboration
    Digital or analogue – I’m an analogue girl trying to keep her sanity while playing in the digital world.
    What fuels you? – aesthetic arrest and beauty of all kinds.
    Leaded or unleaded? – am unleaded. sparkling water or camomille tea. I’m also not opposed to an early afternoon cocktail from time to time.
    Breaks – always. good food and mid-day repose. {or an afternoon matinee}
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – sitting meditation, reading, mindful meandering
    Movement practices that fuel creation – 5 Rhythms by gabrielle roth

  9. This is an interesting topic to examine for myself. I guess I haven’t thought about my routine in this way before, but I do enjoy sitting at my computer before I shower or get dressed in the morning. It’s my most productive time.

    Clothes – PJ’s in the morning. Whatever I’m wearing later in the day.

    Sound – Quiet

    Light – Daylight from the window in front of me.

    Location – My desk at the window overlooking a small lake.

    Directionality – Facing outside

    Time of Day – Morning after kids leave for school. Evening after dinner

    Routine/spontaneous – Some of both

    Long periods or short bursts – Some of both

    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – Often it’s just a scrap of paper!

    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – clean

    Clean or dirty – clean

    Solo or surrounded – solo

    Digital or analogue – digital

    What fuels you? – coffee in the morning, water throughout the day

    Leaded or unleaded? – Leaded, absolutely!

    Breaks – Hunger usually signals my breaks

    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Starting to write
    fosters creativity
    Movement practices that fuel creation – Stretching at my desk; walking otherwise

  10. Clothes – wetsuit, boardshorts or a pullover wool climbing top
    Sound – wind, water, waves …. and some alt or classic rock.
    Light – intense, all natural
    Location – mountain tops, underwater, beach
    Directionality – n/a
    Time of Day – early morning, sunrise
    Routine/spontaneous – both
    Long periods or short bursts – long periods where hours slip by
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – no, but I need to … suggestions???
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – squeaky clean
    Clean or dirty – depends how long I’ve been on a mountain 🙂
    Solo or surrounded – solo
    Digital or analogue – whatever I can use to get a torrent of ideas down as quickly as possible.
    What fuels you? – chocolate, PB&J, protein shakes and a margarita at the end of the day
    Leaded or unleaded? – I quit caffeine a while back and don’t drink coffee. Green tea.
    Breaks – what’s that???
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – becoming ground and center. Intense focus.
    Movement practices that fuel creation – SCUBA diving, mountain climbing, mountain biking, hanging out on the beach with my toes in the sand.

  11. Clothes – In office: Shorts, T-shirt, Ivy Cap. Out of office: Jeans, T-shirt, Sport coat, Ivy Cap.
    Sound – Groove Lounge, Ambient Popsicle, Washing Machine
    Light – Dim, candles, low light
    Location – Office (home), coffee shop w/ large windows
    Directionality – back up to wall, facing out into room.
    Time of Day – Early morning or VERY VERY late night
    Routine/spontaneous – routine for routine things; spontaneous for creative work
    Long periods or short bursts – Long periods
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – Always, mole skin note book and Kodak Zi8 HDCam
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Clean
    Clean or dirty – morning, anything goes, night, CLEAN!
    Solo or surrounded – Solo unless brain storming session
    Digital or analogue – Hmmm. Analogue still exists?
    What fuels you? – Coffee, laughter, family, writing letters to family
    Leaded or unleaded? – Leaded
    Breaks – wandering and infrequent
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – wonder, pondering… what if’s.
    Movement practices that fuel creation – walking in a new place, introducing myself to random new people to fuel a conversation. Chatting with my wife.

  12. patrick says:

    Clothes – Shorts, t-shirts, barefoot…early spring to late fall. Jeans, sweater and socks in the winter.
    Sound – Eclectic, background music mostly, loud when I need to push.
    Light – Natural light as much as possible, when required – bright light. At night – lamplight, somewhat subdued.
    Location – Mostly home office and porch. Outdoors for inspiration.
    Directionality – Facing 9 bulletin boards filled with artwork in front and to right, windows to left.
    Time of Day – Early morning, late at night. My most non-productive times are late morning and early afternoon.
    Routine/spontaneous – Instituted routine but not rigid at all. Really a combination.
    Long periods or short bursts – It depends on the project. Usually short. Intensely long, with no sense of time, when things start to really flow.
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – I always have a pen. I capture by notebook(many notebooks), phone notepad, camera.
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Squeaky clean.
    Clean or dirty – Showered. I eat first and a shower gives me time to think about the day.
    Solo or surrounded – Solo for small stuff. Collaborative whenever possible and when budget allows.
    Digital or analogue – Usually analogue to digital or analogue to digital to analogue.
    What fuels you? – Healthy food. Light eating every two hours or so. Laughter!
    Leaded or unleaded? – Coffee, chai, soy milk. I make the strongest coffee in the world, so one in the morning, one in the afternoon.
    Breaks – Trail running, hiking with my dog, walking through the village, impromptu coffee shop meetings, sometimes short naps.
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Any activity that allows an opportunity to free-think. Non-activity.
    Movement practices that fuel creation – Walking, hiking, running, biking, working out. I have a strong physical/mental connection.

    Thank you, Jonathan. That was fun. I’m excited to see everyone else’s routines.

  13. Dan Perez says:

    Wow. I’ve never given so much thought to what the ideal conditions were to spur my creativity. Creative spurts come when they come (sometimes when I’m clean, other times when I’m dirty). I think you only limit how creative you can be if you define the conditions under which you *believe* you are at your most creative.

    Just my two cents…

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Dan, Interesting insight. Try reversing the exploration, though.

      Instead of saying what must be there, look back at your organic process and ask if there are any patterns that coincide with optimal output.

      If there are, and you like “outputting optimally,” then it might be worth a bit more effort to see what happens to your creative process and output with a more deliberate attempt to fuel them based on what’s worked in the past.

      So, it’s not about rules, musts and requirements, but rather observations and optimization.

      • Dan Perez says:

        Jonathan, there are definitely a few existing patterns where my creativity is at a premium (evening hours, primarily), but those patterns can also be erratic and inconsistent. I do see your point however and it’s a valid one. I’ve just gotten used to allowing creativity to find me rather than seek it out.

        I also agree with what Brooke said about people using the lack of certain conditions as a procrastination tool. I think the more you are aware of the “ideal” conditions, the more likely that procrastination will rear its ugly head.

        Thanks for the reply.

    • Brooke says:

      I was thinking a little of the same, and also that I haven’t had the luxury of that much experimentation! 😉 I just pretty much come downstairs to my laptop in the morning, I have to have coffee and water, and get myself going.

      I generally start out with coffee, but will alternate with a variety of teas later in the day as taste buds get tired. My breaks generally involve house cleaning and/or working out. And, I must listen to something without lyrics–generally modern piano, driven jazz (Brad Mehldau, McCoy Tyner). I’m easily distracted by people walking around me, so coffee shops don’t work.

      So, I guess I do have a few parameters for working, but not quite the exhaustive list. When I taught college, I had a number of students who didn’t realize how much they procrastinated by having a long list of “perfect” study conditions that had to be in place before they could crack a book… and no, those were not my A students. 😉 I see Jonathan’s comment on working backwards and realizing that these parameters already existed, but I try not to use their lack as a procrastination tool. (We have enough of ’em already, right?)

      • Jonathan Fields says:

        Great add, B! Totally agree on not letting the lack of perfect conditions become an excuse to avoid creating.

  14. Okay, dude, I’ll bite. 🙂

    Clothes – Jeans and a comfy t-shirt, or even lounge/yoga pants

    Sound – Definitely background noise. Most often music, sometimes a movie

    Light – Task lighting mostly, not too bright

    Location – My home office, back deck, or tucked in a corner of a favorite bar

    Directionality – Usually my back to the wall, though my office isn’t arranged that way. Hmmmmmm

    Time of Day – 7-9am or after 7pm

    Routine/spontaneous – Routine most of the time, unless I get a burst of inspiration. Then I need to drop everything to respond to it.

    Long periods or short bursts – Depends on the day. I’ve done both, but probably err on the long periods side.

    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – Absolutely. My moleskine notebook.

    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Lived in. Somewhere in the middle.

    Clean or Dirty – At my best freshly showered, but when I don’t need to “do” my hair.

    Solo or surrounded – Solo.

    Digital or analogue – Analog for the initial idea captures in my Moleskine. Scribbles, etc. Digital once I have some concrete thoughts formed.

    What fuels you? – Water, fruit, almonds, veggies and hummus. Stuff that makes me feel contentedly full but not needing a nap.

    Leaded or unleaded? -Leaded in the AM. No coffee or caffeine after noon except for the occasional iced tea.

    Breaks – Outside with the dogs, doing a quick clean of something around the house, playing a game with the kiddo. during the work week, I don’t take enough breaks.

    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Music, music, music. Meditation sometimes, but I suck at it.

    Movement practices that fuel creation – Walking. Punching a heavy bag. Watering the garden. Playing in the park with my kid. Sleeping. 🙂

    Amber

  15. Clothes – doesn’t matter
    Sound – Quiet because older brains can’t switch back and forth
    Light – NA
    Location – Varies; while writing, driving, showering, working out, walking the dog.
    Directionality –
    Time of Day – All times but most Ideas burst into my brain when I am trying to fall asleep. This can be a pain and a treasure.
    Routine/spontaneous –
    Long periods or short bursts –
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – Always have both pen and digital recorder. Use Dragon to transcribe.
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor –
    Clean or dirty –
    Solo or surrounded – Both
    Digital or analogue – Varies. Keyboards are awesome. PC keyboard and blackberry keyboard; Write like cray! Pen to paper when mood hits me. Love to mindmap. Learning to draw.
    What fuels you? –
    Leaded or unleaded? – Leaded and more leaded.
    Breaks –
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Inundate myself into subject.
    Movement practices that fuel creation –

  16. Giovanna says:

    Well, I´m rebuilding my house and it´s taking much more time than I thought it would. I left in january and I´m not back yet. Great amounts of stress…

    So now I see pretty crearly that not being able to aply my MO for such a long period of time is afecting deeply the volume of creation I do since I find only a few “less than ideal” periods of time and lots of “not ideal at all” periods.

    I guess that in the end… that romantic view of a voracious writer that write and create anywhere on any condition don´t really work for me… at least not for extanded periods…

    PS: I loved the list idea, will problably keep it to fill in when I get back home.

  17. Clothes – definitely the jeans and t-shirt route, NO shoes EVER
    Sound – total quiet or just outdoor sounds at my mountain home like the birds, I am easily distracted
    Light – sun sun and more sun (as long as I can see the computer) no alarm clock…love the circadian rhythm of life
    Location – on my couch with the laptop with a view
    Directionality – west towards the mountains
    Time of Day -morning for sure, I start to drag mid-afternoon
    Routine/spontaneous – absolutely spontaneous, routine stifles my creative juices
    Long periods or short bursts – give me the whole morning
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – never do but always wish I would!
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – clean but not antiseptic
    Clean or dirty – clean but when I have an idea the shower waits.
    Solo or surrounded – solo, sorry honey!
    Digital or analogue – digital
    What fuels you? – Rev3 Energy drink from USANA health sciences, protein drinks and meat.
    Leaded or unleaded? – Healthy energy drinks no coffee
    Breaks –no, get the thought done and complete
    Mindset practices that fuel creation -quiet contemplation outdoors on the ocean or a hot bubble bath
    Movement practices that fuel creation – hiking in the mountains, riding my bike or running and especially scuba, being under the water is the passion that fuels the fire

  18. Sue Mitchell says:

    Great post! I am writing on the topic of maintaining focus right now, and one of the things I recommend is some sort of ritual that begins your work sessions to set the tone. What you’re saying here fits right in with that. Love it!

    Clothes – comfy, often PJs or athletic wear
    Sound – silence or sounds of nature coming in through window
    Light – bright but indirect
    Location – the walk-in closet that is my office
    Directionality – south – not sure that matters
    Time of Day – the later the better
    Routine/spontaneous – both
    Long periods or short bursts – 1-2 hours at a time
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – Yes. A beautiful journal that leaped off the bookstore shelf into my hand. If on a walk, a voice recorder.
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – prefer tidy but rarely work that way
    Clean or dirty – again, prefer clean, but I eat at my desk so it can get a bit icky sometimes, and I don’t really care
    Solo or surrounded – SOLO. This is non-negotiable. Although I love doing routine, non-creative tasks with others.
    Digital or analogue – pen and paper for musing and idea capture, digital for writing
    What fuels you? – nature, physical activity, solitude. Oh, you mean food? smoothies, enormous salads, Mexican food
    Leaded or unleaded? – 2 big cups of coffee a day in the a.m., then water
    Breaks – never have the opportunity to work long enough to need one–I get interrupted first or have to go to bed
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – walks in nature, stimulating conversations, reading, letting ideas simmer
    Movement practices that fuel creation – Aura Expander (http://youtu.be/k8XLoUN2ISI), walking in a steady rhythm (outside)

    This was fun! It’s interesting to see other people’s MO’s as well.

    • Sue Mitchell says:

      I forgot to mention above that some people respond quite a bit to smells. I have an essential oil I like to smell when I’m creating. I also find the smell of wood smoke–especially juniper–puts me in a happy place where ideas can flow. Basically, any smell that activates my emotions (baking bread, newly mown grass, smells from childhood) will wake up the part of my brain that creates.

  19. Babs says:

    Oh this is awesome. Never thought about it this in-depth but it’ll definitely help me define my new office this week!

    Clothes – jeans, loose cotton top, hair pulled back
    Sound – depends on the project – jazz like Frank Sinatra, or techno/house
    Light – natural light – sitting near a window or on a covered patio somewhere
    Time of Day – definitely early morning – my creativity fades by noon
    Location – local cafes, home office
    Directionality – gotta be facing the room or tucked into a corner. Can’t stand people seeing my screen
    Routine/spontaneous – spontaneous – somewhat dictated by client deadlines though
    Long periods or short bursts – short bursts – 2 hours max before break
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – never without my moleskin notebook
    Squeaky Clean or squalor (setting) – organized chaos 🙂
    Clean or dirty – depends on where I’m working – I may get a bit slobby when at home and not meeting clients that day
    Solo or surrounded – surrounded – love being able to people watch/get ideas
    Digital or analogue – both – sketch out concepts, then have to create electronically
    What fuels you? – cheese & breads, hot tea
    Leaded or unleaded? – eh? no caffeine
    Breaks – every couple of hours – sometimes just walking around the cafe and looking at art or chatting with other regulars. heading outside kills my productivity streaks because then I want to play!
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – taking 5 minutes in bed each morning to visualize the day
    Movement practices that fuel creation – long baths, driving down back roads, walks through neighborhood alleys

  20. Clothes – post yoga, comfy pants/top/casual. bare feet or fluffy socks
    Sound – nature, or low key chanting, classical, or my personal yoga mixes
    Light – moderate. dimmer lighting or sunny through the blinds
    Location – home, always in my woman cave
    Directionality – I like to be able to walk around or look our the window
    Time of Day – evening, almost always
    Routine/spontaneous – I take notes as the inspiration hits. I make myself sit down once a week and turn it into a post. When working on poetry it is always spontaneous
    Long periods or short bursts – short bursts. an hour tops
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – yes. pen and paper
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – clean. squalor is a distraction
    Clean or dirty – me? I bathe when I think I’m dirty
    Solo or surrounded – solo when working blog posts. poetry comes at will and often in the midst of others
    Digital or analogue -on paper in note form then digital to flesh it out and post
    What fuels you? – nuts, tea, water, chips, chocolate, fruit
    Leaded or unleaded? – no coffee. chia tea with almond milk
    Breaks – perpetual breaks. it is the capturing of content that is in the moments of life, the fleshing it out is when I commit to sitting in front of the computer. I average a post every ten days
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – staring at the waves, red wine, parties with friends, reading blogs/mags/papers, random meetings with new people.
    Movement practices that fuel creation – yoga, walking on the beach, dancing, cooking

  21. Can’t answer those questions yet but it did get me thinking that I need to do some deliberate thinking about my CMO. Bit of a routine, or some intentionality, would make a big difference.

    BTW, this also reminded me of The Creative Habit by Twila Tharp. Worth reading.

  22. Patty K says:

    Clothes – pajamas (all the time)
    Sound – none
    Light – yes
    Location – home office
    Directionality – I don’t know (no sense of direction)
    Time of Day – morning as soon as I get up, sometimes late evening
    Routine/spontaneous – semi-routine – every morning – but can’t count on creativity showing up
    Long periods or short bursts – long periods when I’m in flow
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – just my brain
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – somewhat cluttered
    Clean or dirty – dirty in the morning…shower around 2
    Solo or surrounded – SOLO
    Digital or analogue – digital
    What fuels you? – coffee in the AM, bourbon at night
    Leaded or unleaded? – leaded
    Breaks – not until I’m done
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – wish I knew
    Movement practices that fuel creation – wish I knew

  23. Amy Oscar says:

    Love this –

    Sun-flooded Cafe
    Yoga or ultra-comfort clothes (Eileen Fisher; Donna Karan)
    fresh brewed iced tea; no ice, unsweetened
    music w/o words;
    laptop (Ibook) and/or large spiral sketchbook
    colored roller ball pens – purple and green, esp.

    Breaks? What are those? I work 5 am-noon; take a two mile walk; work thru lunch; then, work again 2-4

  24. Katie Foutz says:

    Thanks for posting this little exercise. My MO has changed a lot since I quit my full-time writing job and went freelance.

    Clothes – casual: jeans, T-shirt, bare feet
    Sound – quiet, but I got really good at tuning out coworkers in a large newsroom
    Light – natural, indirect
    Location – my home office, kitchen table or favorite chair, depending on the assignment
    Directionality – with a window next to me or nearby
    Time of Day – mid-morning and mid-afternoon are my most productive
    Routine/spontaneous – both
    Long periods or short bursts – both
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – do old receipts count? I’m always scribbling on something.
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – orderly but lived in
    Clean or dirty – depends on whether I need to be in public that day
    Solo or surrounded – lately, solo; I can deal with surrounded though
    Digital or analogue – digital for composing, analog for note-taking
    What fuels you? – coffee, water and carbs
    Leaded or unleaded? – leaded in the morning
    Breaks – I tend to put off bathroom and food breaks longer than I should.
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – getting myself to make the first contact to a source; having a deadline
    Movement practices that fuel creation – stretching, gardening, getting on the floor to play with my kiddos

  25. BenBassett says:

    Clothes – Something comfortable for sure. Anything that breaks this rule gets discarded.
    Sound – Need background noise. I tend to reach for the TV remote first but get distracted too easily with it. Music is the name of the game. Techno or something without words is best for me.
    Light – I prefer to be backlit. I’m too photosensitive to have light directly on my eyes or face when creating.
    Location – Typically at home, at my desk. Sometimes an idea strikes while driving though.
    Directionality – Always facing the same way, window to my right, to my left is the rest of the room.
    Time of Day – early to late evening.
    Routine/spontaneous – spontaneous for sure. I haven’t wrestled my creativity to the ground yet and made it captive to when I need it.
    Long periods or short bursts – short bursts is how this goes for me.
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – I’ve been looking for something. Keep trying apps on my android phone for voice recorder. I don’t like any of them.
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Neat, but not clean. I can’t stand stuff laying all over the place but I’m tough to motivate to actually clean. Maybe a touch of OCD??
    Clean or dirty – more clean than dirty.
    Solo or surrounded – solo. When I’m surrounded my analytical and strategic strengths overtake my creativity.
    Digital or analogue – analog for idea generation, digital for fleshing it out.
    What fuels you? – I’m a bit of a sugar whore, ashamed to admit it though.
    Leaded or unleaded? – I tend to stay away from most forms of caffeine. Only on occasion do I indulge.
    Breaks – When I’m going, any break will mess up the flow. I have to ride it out or I lose it.
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – devoid of external concerns. I have to be lost in the moment. Otherwise I’m hyper-aware of external stimuli and get distracted too easily.
    Movement practices that fuel creation – none, unfortunately.

  26. Ramkarthik says:

    I have never thought this way so I don’t actually have a set of things that actually starts my creative juices. But thinking about it, its half of the time like this:

    Clothes – T-shirt and trousers
    Sound – Light melody
    Light – Slightly dark
    Location – Terrace
    Directionality – Facing an open area
    Time of Day – Evening 6.30PM
    Routine/spontaneous – Routine
    Long periods or short bursts – Long periods
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – Notebook and pen
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Squeaky clean
    Clean or dirty – Clean
    Solo or surrounded – Solo
    Digital or analogue – Digital
    What fuels you? – Mostly coffee
    Breaks – 5 minute breaks to play a game of FIFA
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – singing
    Movement practices that fuel creation – soccer, cycling

  27. Katie Marsh says:

    FIRST OF ALL, KUDOS ON THE TUBE SOCKS!!!!!
    Clothes – Cotton T and panties (yikes) oh, and tube socks for winter inspiration.
    Sound – Not my dog scratching on my door, like right now.
    Light – Sun, LOTS OF LIGHT, or just a candle…
    Location – my bed on my Mac
    Directionality – back on pillow, three is best.
    Time of Day – Late at night, but I am learning that every day, same time of day is work, but making my writing better.
    Routine/spontaneous – When kids are in school, or in bed.
    Long periods or short bursts – long periods
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – yes or I scramble
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Squeaky
    Clean or dirty – Hmm… I am a little of both, in every area
    Solo or surrounded – solo please
    Digital or analogue – sigh.
    What fuels you? – spiritual books, my kids, driving alone, listening to music
    Leaded or unleaded? – Unleaded
    Breaks – I hold my pee or I lose my thought – I should make that my next book title
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Meditation, prayer, music,
    Movement practices that fuel creation – working out.. I have gotten off many a treadmill looking for a pen. Thanks for letting us cowrite with you. I find you authentic, soulful, and inspirational. I have only subscribed to a few blogs in years, so MUAH, my friend in my mac.

    Looking forward to discovering YOUR optimal creative MO…

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Haha, thanks for joining both the tribe and the fun! And yes, I Hold My Pee Or I Lose My Thought should definitely be the title of you next book! 😉

  28. Hi and thanks for the fun break today! Here are my answers; I did the ones that resonated with me:

    Clothes – Summer: Shorts/concert t-shirt/bare feet; Winter: ‘Life is Good’ pants/sweatshirt/fluffy socks (hey, I’m in MN)

    Sound – LOVE classic rock but can’t play tunes when I’m working; gotta have silence or open windows where I can hear nature

    Light – Natural sunlight

    Location – My home office where every square inch reflects “me”

    Directionality – As close to the window as possible so I can see/feel the outside

    Time of Day – Early morning or late evening

    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – Always carry a notepad & pen; I’d like to create a waterproof one for the shower!

    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Office is always clean and neat

    Clean or dirty – Love to take a shower first thing in the morning; sets a great foundation

    Solo or surrounded – Mostly solo, but love my Intention Circle (group of four colleagues) to help fuel creativity

    Digital or analogue – Enjoy writing ideas out (yes, I still use my FranklinCovey planner) and then typing away to bring it all together

    What fuels you? – Client feedback, blog comments, and ‘thumbs-up’ on my work; makes my day!

    Leaded or unleaded? – If you mean coffee, I’m not into it

    Breaks – Patio lunches at my favorite deli, walks outside, the daily “check-in” calls with my hubby, surveys like this

    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Being in nature

    Movement practices that fuel creation – Walking in nature

    Just goes to show…we all gotta go with what’s right for each of us!

  29. Anne Galivan says:

    I have been a stay-at-home mom for 26 years and home-schooling for 20 years (and counting). If I can’t be creative with noise and action going on, it ain’t gonna ever happen.

    Right this minute Rob Thomas’ “I Don’t Wanna Be Lonely No More” is playing on the radio and my 8-year old son is dancing around the kitchen to it. My 16-year old son just got home from his classes at the community college. My schoolroom/family room (which I can see from where I’m sitting) is a mess because my 8-year old has been re-creating a “Fetch with Ruff Ruffman” episode in it (as well as playing with his Toy Story toys – he’s a great multi-tasker!)

    I guess I have an advantage then, maybe, because I have had to train myself to tune out: complaining, arguing, playing, laughing, people running and dancing…you get the idea, and still be able to “work.”

  30. I haven’t thought this out yet…I’ll get on it and get back to it..

    Any suggestions on good voice recording devices?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      My go-to for short-stuff is just a voice-recorder app on my iphone. For longer, better quality, I use the Olympus WM-320 and for really high quality stuff, I use an Olympus LS-10 Linear PCM voice recorder (which is a bit big to carry around, but the audio quality for interview is phenomenal).

  31. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jonathan Fields, Dan Perez. Dan Perez said: What’s Your Creative Modus Operandi? http://t.co/HJI9Ck4 via @jonathanfields […]

  32. pamela says:

    Clothes – rugged shorts, socks shoes, old tee shirt
    Sound – IPOD cranked
    Light -2 workbench lights, tons of sunlight from windows
    Location – at my jewlers bench,
    where my dining room SHOULD be
    Directionality – North, facing Scarry Barry’s house
    Time of Day -11am til my back hurts
    Routine/spontaneous – spontaneous
    Long periods or short bursts – short bursts
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – never
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – middle
    Clean or dirty – start clean end dirty
    Solo or surrounded – solo
    Digital or analogue – digital camera to document
    What fuels you? – hunger
    Leaded or unleaded? – pass
    Breaks – I’ll quit if I stop
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Gotta get this out
    Movement practices that fuel creation – Sit at bench

  33. Karen says:

    Clothes – Comfortable. I need to be able to move & not be too hot or cold. BUT – I find I’m more motivated when I’m dressed more ‘professionally’
    Sound – Bond when I’m designing, Foo Fighters when I have a lot to do in a hurry, silence if I’m doing admin or accounts.
    Light – Au naturale & lots of it!
    Location – Home.
    Directionality – My workspace needs to be between me & a window.
    Time of Day – Morning [after breakfast – none of that 5am nonsense!] till noon. Late afternoon.
    Routine/spontaneous – Mixed.
    Long periods or short bursts – In a perfect world, I’d sit and focus and do in one big go until it’s done.
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – There’s usually a pen in my handbag.
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Mess is distracting, but cleaning is time-consuming, so usually somewhere in between.
    Clean or dirty – Clean. Very.
    Solo or surrounded – Solo.
    Digital or analogue – Analogue.
    What fuels you? – Tea. Milo. Chocolate. Honey & lemon muffins. Peanuts.
    Leaded or unleaded? – A friend once said ‘Decaf is like non-alcoholic wine, or church without the Holy Spirit.’ Leaded tea always, coffee during the day but not at night.
    Breaks – For food or toilet. Or to read articles like this.
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Looking at pictures. Immersing myself in what I really like about a current project.
    Movement practices that fuel creation – Getting ready for my day [clothes, hair, makeup, jewelry] as though I have a meeting with an important client first thing. Clearing my workspace to start fresh.

  34. For some reason I can’t be as creative with shoes and slacks on … recently noticed!

    Shorts, t-shirt, flip-flops and favorite tunes in the background.

    I’ve noticed my surroundings play a more influential part than what I wear though…

    Later everyone 🙂

  35. Clothes – Something comfy and colorful
    Sound – some moderate background noise: either a court case (I’m also a CJ major) or some music
    Light – VERY VERY bright!!!!!
    Location – by my designing table with all my components spread in front of me. I work from home, so it’s my creativity room
    Directionality – Preferably in a position where I can survey the entire room at a glance
    Time of Day – I tend to get lost in it and I can literally be up days at a time
    Routine/spontaneous – a little of both!
    Long periods or short bursts – usually long periods, but I have short bouts of intense creativity and then I have to get up and burn off more energy
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – No..I can’t draw to save my life! I just carry the designs in my head
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Squeaky clean, but sometimes the components get all mixed up on the table while I’m working and I get some awesome designs from it!
    Clean or dirty – Clean…always!
    Solo or surrounded – solo otherwise it’s very distracting and I can’t “see” the colors in my head
    Digital or analogue – when I’m listing all the photos, definitely digital
    What fuels you? – Greek yogurt and tons of fruits and veggies.
    Leaded or unleaded? – Racing fuel, thank you (grin)
    Breaks – occasional. I have to get out and move, so there’s usually a two hour or so break so I can workout
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – I’m an extremely positive person, so that helps. I get my inspiration from lots of things, sometimes even something someone says.
    Movement practices that fuel creation – running…working out intensely. My mind can just wander then and freely explore whatever it wants. I get very clear mental images of the pieces I want to create. Sometimes it’s even looking for a specific component for something else. I see something that catches my eye and automatically match it with other things to “create” the piece in my mind.

  36. Cori Padgett says:

    Love the post, it’s so interesting to see how others operate at times! lol

    Clothes – Usually a tank and pajama or yoga pants, barefoot or with flips.
    Sound – Sound of the fan, occasionally instrumental music. Can’t focus on writing if I’m listening to lyrics.
    Light – Office is fairly dim, unless I open the window..light over my desk.
    Location – Home office, occasionally the smoothie shop or a restaurant.
    Directionality – A bit northwest, facing my desk, back to the door. If I’m out, facing the door or the windows.
    Time of Day – Anywhere from early A.M. to late P.M.
    Routine/spontaneous – A blend of both.
    Long periods or short bursts – Short bursts, sprinkled with the random long period of creative drive.
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – I try to, usually my iphone!
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – We’ll call it ‘lived in’. lol I’m generally untidy by nature, but definitely clean.
    Clean or dirty – Clean, clean, clean. Unless I just hit the gym. Then likely a bit stinky.
    Solo or surrounded – Usually solo, unless I’m out.
    Digital or analogue – Both, but primarily digital.
    What fuels you? – Passion, green tea with honey, and turkey with spicy mustard.
    Leaded or unleaded? – Used to be leaded in the A.M. but switched to tea instead.
    Breaks – Inconsistent, need to take more of them!
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Writing in my prayer journal, writing and saying affirmations, attempting meditation.
    Movement practices that fuel creation – Running, yoga, body-weight exercises. Dancing if I decide to get out on the town! (With iphone attached to my hip!)

  37. Nick Roberts says:

    Clothes – jeans and a t shirt. Nothing more nothing less really.
    Sound – Varies. I like good dance music going sometimes.
    Light – Must be very light out.
    Location – Anywhere I can get inspired. I wrote at my car repair shop the other day waiting for my car.
    Directionality – I like to see the outside but not with the sun in my eyes.
    Time of Day – Probably the most inopportune times.
    Routine/spontaneous – Spontaneous though I wish I could be routine.
    Long periods or short bursts – short bursts then a long period of nothing.
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – My cell.
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Somewhere in the middle. I do have 3 kids you know!
    Clean or dirty – Clean
    Solo or surrounded – Solo
    Digital or analogue – Digital
    What fuels you? – Caffeine & excitement.
    Leaded or unleaded? – I can go either way
    Breaks – Lots of them!
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Meditation and pre music that gets me excited and amped up. I try and pump myself up before writing!
    Movement practices that fuel creation –

  38. Amy Harrison says:

    Clothes – jeans and t-shirt
    Sound – – nothing, earplugs in fact
    Light – bright bright lights fortunately flat is very light
    Location – desk at home, not so good working out and about
    Directionality – window to the right. Live near the station so plenty of people watching if needed
    Time of Day – early morning and then early evening
    Routine/spontaneous – total routine freak. Spontanaeity is for when I’m having fun. Scheduled spontanaeity I like to call it.
    Long periods or short bursts – Both depending on mood and energy
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – a ridiculous amount of paper and pens
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Squeaky clean. tidy and sweep every day or else I can’t concentrate
    Clean or dirty – can’t function before a shower so squeaky clean again
    Solo or surrounded – solo but connected online
    Digital or analogue – digital
    What fuels you? – client’s passions and being creative
    Leaded or unleaded? -caffeine all the way
    Breaks – lots of little ones, and plenty of naps
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – napping
    Movement practices that fuel creation – pilates

  39. Annie Stith (@Gr8fulAnnie) says:

    Hey, Jonathan!

    Well, here goes my list…

    Clothes – Ummm… Tee and panties, usually, unless my one pair of PJ’s is clean.
    Sound – Quiet. Very, very quiet.
    Light – Natural, usually barely light or in darkness.
    Location – At home, laying back on couch. Or in recliner.
    Directionality – Facing full wall of windows.
    Time of Day – I have insomnia & can’t stay asleep, so usually at anywhere from 1:00a to 3:00a, whenever I wake.
    Routine/spontaneous – spontaneous (routine kills my creativity)
    Long periods or short bursts – Long periods where time doesn’t exist. At all. I mean, I write til noon sometimes.
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – BlackBerry 
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Absolute squalor. Unless it’s a good month and I could afford to hire help.
    Clean or dirty – Dirty and sweaty (stupid hot flashes!)
    Solo or surrounded – Solo… except for my lovey kitty cats.
    Digital or analogue – Pffft… All I have is a BlackBerry to write on. Unless I’m journaling in my notebook and it turns into something else.
    What fuels you? – Coffee (very strong and black), toast. 
    Leaded or unleaded? – Leaded
    Breaks – I get so into it, I forget. Unless I get attacked by my new eight week old kitty or my stomach starts to growl
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Dreams, Daydreams, visualization, reading, talking to my FL girlfriend weekly.
    Movement practices that fuel creation – playing or snuggling with my kitty cats, stretching, (sad to say) narcotic painkillers.

    Annie

  40. Phil Miller says:

    Here are my thoughts. One differentiator I see is are you ideating or “producing”. There’s a difference for me. Ideas come in bursts and then iterate. My writing needs “grinding”. I just need to sit down and get it done, usually filling in the details of earlier creative bursts.

    Clothes – Comfy. Soft jeans and loose shirt
    Sound – Background noise. A pandora channel/iTunes playlist.
    Light – Natural sunlight
    Location – Home office or public “third place” Love my neighborhood Caribou coffee
    Directionality – Looking outside or at a crowd. I need visual whitenoise…
    Time of Day – Anytime as long as i have large chunk to sink into it
    Routine/spontaneous – Need both. Without some sort of schedule never make any progress. Difference between pure thinking/note taking and “production” or actual writing.
    Long periods or short bursts – Both. “Punctuated Equilibrium”
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – Yes. Moleskin.
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Whatever.
    Clean or dirty –
    Solo or surrounded – Surrounded, but with headphones on.
    Digital or analogue – Digital. Need to produce while i think or it’s gone.
    Breaks – Periodic mini-diversions to other web sites.
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Rested, open.
    Movement practices that fuel creation – Anchored to chair.

  41. Ali says:

    Clothes – None. Well, underwear, maybe.
    Sound – Utter mayhem.
    Light – Dim. Because I’m in my underwear, maybe.
    Location – My house, I hope.
    Directionality – Facing a load of unwashed dishes.
    Time of Day – Variable.
    Routine/spontaneous – Definitely the second. But I try for the first.
    Long periods or short bursts – Bursts.
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – Backs of receipts in my purse.
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – I reference the dishes above.
    Clean or dirty – Some of both.
    Solo or surrounded – Surrounded. Like Custer.
    Digital or analogue – Digital. Though getting longer these days, I find receipts just don’t quite make it.
    What fuels you? – Sticky, peanut butter and honey kisses from my toddlers.
    Leaded or unleaded? – I’m always leaded. See above mentioned toddlers.
    Breaks – Frequent. But they are usually not my idea.
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Knowing I have a million other things I should really be doing.
    Movement practices that fuel creation – Cleaning the toilet. So not kidding

  42. tom dinning says:

    Hi Jonathan,
    Interesting concept but I’m thinking there are a whole bunch of anal retentives out there with a few bordering on OCD.
    Rituals are those processes and actions we do when we are preparing ourselves for ‘something’. It doesn’t have to be creative. When I mow the lawn I find my old baggy shorts and a similar t-shirt, wear the sneakers that have had the cane toads living in them and don my old faithful cap. Why? Because I don’t want to get my best suit dirty or my bald head burnt. Mowing isn’t creative – unless I start from the middle and do a crop circle in the shape of a cat’s bum. Then again, the wife would see this as a bit psycho. All relative, I guess.
    So if you think going through all those rituals is going to make you more creative you probably aren’t. Creativity is about new things. NEW!!!! If its the same old crap you are dealing up or copies of someone elses idea or something totally useless you may be better off chilling out and reading a good book.
    My wife thinks I’m creative when I cook. I think she’s creative when she draws flowers (she’s a botanical artist). Respective admiration guarentee’s I cook for her and she gives me great sex. What more could a couple ask for.
    Whether we are creative or not is not the issue. we ‘do stuff’. If you sit in front of a computer to write and nothing comes, its not because you haven’t stripped down naked and stuck a rose up your arse. It’s probaly because you are letting the ‘other you’ do all the thinking. That’s the one that says you have to go through rituals to be creative.
    Might I suggest the next time you feel the urge, do something creative like go lie down and read the paper or watch an episode of Top Gear or go water the garden. Do something you never do. Undo all the rituals. Turn the music off. Go cook some spagetti, take the dog for a game with the traffic on the freeway. Climb a tree. Whatever. Relax. Even at the end of all that, if a creative though doesn’t come I can only suggest 3 things: you’re not ready, you’re not creative, you’re dead. Still, you haven’t wasted your time with rituals.
    Now that I’m done I can rotate my chair 3 times and undo my shoe laces.

  43. Alexandra says:

    Clothes – jeans & a t-shirt?Sound – yes, music, other people talking [to each other – not cell phone]?
    Light – city light, preferably side sun, not directly on me, adding as little light as I can when it’s too early for daylight?
    Location – home or loud cafe with eclectic & unexpected music
    ?Directionality – facing wall of window @ home, facing into the room or out on the street? in a cafe
    Time of Day – early, still dark outside & also later-afternoon
    ?Routine/spontaneous – routine in the morning, spontaneous any other time
    ?Long periods or short bursts – 3-ish hours, then make me stop
    ?Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – Always: notebook & iPhone [email myself notes, Evernote]?
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – seeking squeaky
    ?Clean or dirty – dirty: I clean up to be with people; I work as is?
    Solo or surrounded – solo mostly, collaborative during salons
    ?Digital or analogue – both, back & forth, but NEED analog, tactile, paint, ink
    ?What fuels you? – coffee, really good coffee [meaning americano with a dot of skim to just barely change the color], water, eggs & arugula
    ?Leaded or unleaded? – leaded?
    Breaks – yes, though I forget that
    ?Mindset practices that fuel creation – morning pages, inching my way toward a meditation routine
    ?Movement practices that fuel creation – yoga, running, rowing, walking, yoga

  44. Kirsten says:

    Clothes – Favorite over-sized sweatshirt, jeans, comfy thick socks & tennies.
    Sound – I listen to AmbiScience apps with focus binaural beats.
    Light – lots of it sunshine + electric
    Location – the sun room in my house or in a coffee shop
    Directionality – doesn’t matter
    Time of Day – late morning early afternoon
    Routine/spontaneous – always spontaneous during the week, routine on Sundays
    Long periods or short bursts – long periods, short bursts befuddle me.
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – moleskin full of my doodles and snippets of dialogue
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – makes no difference (if the coffee shop is in squalor that won’t work – my own personal squalor doesn’t bother me.)
    Clean or dirty – clean. Must wash hair every day. That’s the only OCD trait I have and I like to honor it.
    Solo or surrounded – solo at home which means family has to be elsewhere or I can be surrounded by strangers.
    Digital or analogue – combo – digital for organizing using super notecard and I always have a notebook available for doodling and musing
    What fuels you? – watching trees blow in the wind
    Leaded or unleaded? – leaded
    Breaks – no
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – breaking it down into tiny bites and working on one tiny bite at a time. It will usually turn into more, but if I start with the idea of finishing a chapter, I’ll stall and balk.
    Movement practices that fuel creation – unfortunately nothing consistent.

    This was fun. Thanks!

  45. Javier Valcárcel says:

    Clothes – Comfy, if I’m at home it’s my boxers, shorts or capoeira and yoga pants. Outside it’s t-shirts, jeans and my favorite beret.

    Sound – Music, personal tastes like hip-hop, rock, salsa, electronic… mainly jazz when I need to really concentrate.

    Light – Doesn’t really matter.

    Location – My room, beach, coffee shops, my car, I try to access that energy anywhere.

    Directionality – No requirement for this, can’t ask for too much when looking for creative inspiration.

    Time of Day – Preferably late evenings.

    Routine/spontaneous – A combination of both is necessary.

    Long periods or short bursts – Depends on the time.

    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – Android or pen and post-its.

    Squeaky Clean or Squalor – Squalor, I try not to let a little thing like messiness get in the way of creation.

    Clean or dirty – Clirty

    Solo or surrounded – Solo

    Digital or analogue – Translation to all digital is almost complete.

    What fuels you? – My gut, my passions, my ambitions and my desire to leave something good behind that will far outlive me.

    Leaded or unleaded? – Puerto Rican coffee or green tea blends.

    Breaks – Consumption time fuels creation time.

    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Meditation and reading

    Movement practices that fuel creation – Physical well-being stimulates mental well-being. Yoga may be the activity with the most stimulation for creativity. But my other practices influence as well like: capoeira, swimming, crossfit, Insanity, P90X, gym work, etc.

  46. […] I came across a blog that talks about the Creative Modus Operandi; the factors which enable you to work at your optimum creativity. For example here, are the factors […]

  47. […] Jonathan Fields: Conversations at the crossroads of work, play, entrepreneurship & life […]

  48. […] Jonathan Fields is my new hero. I’m reading (okay, okay, devouring) his book, Career Renegade, and doing the same to his blog. Here is a little something, something I got from one of his posts: […]

  49. Mine

    Clothes – The usual.
    Sound – Quiet because older brains can’t switch back and forth
    Light – NA
    Location – Varies; while writing, driving, showering, working out, walking the dog.
    Directionality –
    Time of Day – All times but most Ideas burst into my brain when I am trying to fall asleep. This can be a pain and a treasure.
    Routine/spontaneous –
    Long periods or short bursts –
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – Always have both pen and digital recorder. Use Dragon to transcribe.
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor –
    Clean or dirty –
    Solo or surrounded – Both
    Digital or analogue – Varies. Keyboards are awesome. PC keyboard and blackberry keyboard; Write like cray! Pen to paper when mood hits me. Love to mindmap. Learning to draw.
    What fuels you? –
    Leaded or unleaded? – Leaded and more leaded.
    Breaks –
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Inun

  50. Clothes – light clothes,bare feet
    Sound – Perfect silence
    Light – Dim,soft,shade
    Location – Always mountains
    Directionality –
    Time of Day – Cool evenings
    Routine/spontaneous –
    Long periods or short bursts –
    Carry something to capture ideas on the fly? – anything I can write on (mostly on my skin)
    Squeaky Clean or Squalor –
    Clean or dirty – Clean
    Solo or surrounded – Solo
    Digital or analogue – Digital
    What fuels you? – Ambition
    Leaded or unleaded? – Unleaded
    Breaks –
    Mindset practices that fuel creation – Reading,music
    Movement practices that fuel creation – hiking,hiking and hiking

  51. […] What’s Your Creative Modus Operandi? – A fun post by one of my favorite bloggers. Jonathan Fields wonders  ”How does what you wear impact what you create?” and discovers an optimal creative Modus Operandi… what might yours be? […]

  52. Eran says:

    I loved this post, very out of the box thinking. I have never looked at creativity as a product of what you wear, but who knows?