I have the attention spa– SQUIRREL!

I am a writer. My job is to sit at at a desk by myself for sometimes 10-12 hours a day and create or comment upon worlds. So my career over the past 20 years has looked like this:

  • Hit my fingertips against a keyboard sporadically
  • Stare at a flat screen
  • Pray to the gods of inspiration the magic will come
The 30-second coloring book break. Little People not included.

The 30-second coloring book break. Little People(TM) optional.

You know where that magic often happens? Procrastination.

Ahem, I’m sorry. I mean to say, what I once read in an article: marination. When you let your ideas ‘marinate’ in your brain while you watch the Big Bang Theory or read a Crate & Barrel catalog. There is often popcorn involved in this ‘marination’ process. Upon rare occasion, even hiking. Or cleaning. My dishes have never been so very, very done as when I’m on a deadline.

Recently, I discovered adult coloring books. (Not that kind of adult. But I’m sure they exist. If someone is brave enough to Google it, let me know.)

Doodling doesn’t do it for me. I mean, jesus. You have to come up with all those ideas. Circles? Squares? Squiggly lines? Way too much original thought I’m saving for writing.

Behold, the 30-second coloring book break, which:

  • Keeps me at my desk (once I’m up and onto a different task, all bets could be off for hours)
  • Gives my brain a break
  • Takes my eyes off screens
  • Heightens my creativity
  • Lets me switch gears just long enough
  • Puts me into mini-flow
  • Is full of pretty colors and pictures
  • Bores me fairly quickly

Because I am a diehard procrastinator and have absolutely no attention span what– OMG! I HAVEN’T CHECKED FACEBOOK IN AN HOUR!

Oh, hi. 🙂

…soever, by the time the 30 seconds are up, I’m sick of coloring and am ready to drop that art crap and get the fuck back to my writing. Plus, I just might have had an insight or two in the meantime.

Albert Einstein agreed and, you know, he’s pretty smart. He wrote that some of his greatest insights came from what he called ‘combinatory play.’

But taken from a psychological viewpoint, this combinatory play [between logic/thoughts you could put into language and what he called ‘psychical elements’ — more intangible, symbolic thoughts] seems to be the essential feature in productive thought — before there is any connection with logical construction in words or other kinds of signs which can be communicated to others.

His creative outlet of choice was the violin, and his violin breaks gave us some of the most profound scientific insights in history.

So, there you have it. Start coloring for 30 seconds while you work, and you, too, can resolve questions about the space/time continuum.*

* Statement not yet verified.