Detour - The word "love" is very out of focus in this image

Composing Detours – How Pauses Help Creativity

I just finished submitting a track for a competition. Almost instantly, I questioned this detour.

Focus and Easy-Focus

When I’m working on a creative project, I get very focused. That means that detours from my project can be really derailing. It often takes me longer than I’d like to get my momentum back.

But some of my mentors teach about changing focus to easy-focus. In a way, it’s a way of intentionally letting things go out of focus. Or as one of my teachers says, “Have a soft and easy focus.” This means that I don’t have to become unfocused, but I do allow the intensity of my project be on the soft side.

Turning Away

Six pedestrian detour signs with arrows pointing in different directions

Complete detours, however, are all about unfocusing. So, when I decided to submit a track for a competition, I knew I’d be off course. Fortunately, I was able to compose, record, mix, master, and submit the track within about 48 hours.

The first interesting thing I noticed when I returned to my original project is that I had been over-focused. The relentless way I was working on this series of instrumental pieces had turned into a sort of obsession. Once I engaged in the detour, that obsessiveness had gone away.

From Detour To Bliss

A pathway leads to beautiful, misty mountains

Now, instead of tenaciously pursuing the compositions, I could enjoy the creative process. This, by the way, is my normal pursuit of writing music: the process itself is filled with the joy and excitement of discovery.

My detour had gone from being suspect to being “just what I needed”. It had redirected my focus just enough to get me back into the groove of composing.

Have you ever experienced the joy of a detour? I’d enjoy hearing your stories of blissful detours. Drop a comment here or send me a note on Twitter with your story.

2 thoughts on “Composing Detours – How Pauses Help Creativity”

  1. Excellent advice here because pulling back can help to boost creativity unlike few activities. I just went for a walk with the dog for a half hour. As soon as I hopped back online I felt instantly more creative and a few ideas are kicking around in my head. Sensational advice here.

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