I’m making up my own law. It probably already exists in other places, and if it does, don’t tell me, because I’m still reeling over how much of a genius I am. One time, when I was 15, I wrote Fur Elise. I thought it was pretty good – and it was pretty good – but then my Dad told me that Beethoven wrote it first. I was shattered.
Anyway, my law, which I’ve aptly named the Creative Law of Continued Growth, is this: Creativity grows in one’s mind like snow grows on the ground. With continued application, the amount of creativity will build; but left on its own, the creativity will melt away, leaving you starting from scratch the next time around.
Last Friday I worked on Charisma in the morning, and later that evening, warming up for our improv show, I felt a remarkable strength that I hadn’t felt in a while. Our show was awesome, and when we got our notes at the end the instructor called me out for coming up with the big payoff moment. I was, needless to say, busting with pride.
Looking back to my most recent post, on the Golden Rules of Writing, I realized that this plugs directly into two of them: rules #1 and #9. Writing every day isn’t just a good idea; it flexes the creative muscles, so that next time you write it’s a little bit easier. Being in a creative environment – regardless of the type of creativity – does the same. Your brain, just like a bicep or a calf muscle, increases its strength, endurance, and muscle memory, so that next time you work out, you can lift more weight, recover quicker, or run further or faster.
An interesting idea to ponder is that in exercise, cross-training is critical. Marathon runners don’t just run 26 miles a day: they lift weights, they interval-train, they cycle, they stretch, they do situps, they work on treadmills and run around tracks … all of these are important aspects of the marathon training regimen, to say nothing of weight and diet management.
I’ve found improv incredibly helpful in developing my skills as a screenwriter. Reading and editing plays and short stories is helpful, too. All of these, I think, can teach us something about our particular craft, and are a valuable part of training. And I’ll definitely be writing before my next improv show.