What can I do today to put myself in a peak state to create?

That’s the question I try to ask myself whenever I feel like I’m drifting, going along without intention. And then I make sure to do those things.

It’s a personal question. At different stages of my life, the answer would have been slightly different. But some elements always remain: 1) some form of exercise. These days that mostly means a long walk to wherever it is I am going to write that day.  On weekends, I jog, slowly, for between a half hour and an hour. 2) Meditation. Every day. Morning and afternoon for twenty minutes. 3) some form of journaling, usually morning pages, as described in Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way 4) the right music (today, and many days, that’s an album by The Hold Steady. 

When I incorporate these things into my day, I am able to ease the doubts, quiet the inner critic and get into the state of flow I need to be at my most creative. 

What do you do? Do you even know? Should you start to find out? 

Ask yourself: What can I do today to put myself in a peak state to create? And let me know the answer. 

Published by

Brian Koppelman

I'm co-creator/Executive producer of Showtime's Billions. Some of the films I've either written/produced/directed are Solitary Man, Rounders, Ocean's Thirteen, Knockaround Guys, Runaway Jury, The Girlfriend Experience & the 30/30 Documentary on Jimmy Connors. I'm also the host of the podcast The Moment. iTunes.com/TheMoment

8 thoughts on “What can I do today to put myself in a peak state to create?”

  1. I feel an almost insane amount of guilt if I don’t hit my word count goal on at least one of my WIPs, a list that ranges from feature screenplays and teleplays to full-length fiction novels and short fiction. So knowing the words will hit the page come hell or high water in someway somehow is usually incentive enough. Trust me, the last thing I want to do is find myself fighting my guilt as I try to go to sleep at 1 AM only to give up, give in, and then finally get up and lose sleep writing because I goofed off during the day.

    That being said, to help me get to that space where the words will come easily, I plop on my headphones and find “the song” for that day — usually some remix or something –, and then just let it play on constant loop while I write. The repetition of it quickly becomes like white noise to me. But, to my inner critic and my OCD, it’s like candy. The inner critic rocks out and the OCD gets stuck on the repeating rhythm and Jonathan, the writer, doesn’t get tripped up by either of them and gets his word count for the day.

    And everybody wins. 🙂

      1. When I first started writing, a Producer who’s a friend of mine really helped me see that my relentless personality could be an asset if channeled into something productive. Instead of being embarrassed or frustrated by all this energy — with no idea how to channel it –, I could redirect it into creating something. And that’s what I’ve done. So, yeah, it comes with a bit of guilt and a daily cracking of the whip, but if it produces good work, I’m not complaining.

        Now if I could only learn how to turn it off and take a real, honest to god vacation. I usually end up writing in a cafe in Paris and forgetting to, you know, do that relaxing thing I’m supposed to do. 🙂

  2. I am a film student with a pretty hectic and ever changing schedule. I find that having a few activities I can do consistently gives me the anchor points to be creative and productive. The best thing I do is Go for a morning walk as soon as I wake up. It lets me sort out any problems or issues on my mind. After that its any assortment of: making coffee, listening to Fleet Foxes, reading a book or exercising.

  3. As a film student in college I have an ever changing and hectic schedule. However I try to do a few things each day, consistently, to be productive and creative. A morning walk as soon as I wake up helps me sort out anything troubling my mind and also get in a positive state of mind. Then throughout the day I will do some assortment of making coffee, reading poetry and listening to Fleet Foxes. I swam competitively since I was 10 but stopped for college. I miss having those two hours a day of release so that would be the one thing I am working on to replace.

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