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Be Better Creating - Issue #3: Notion systems, theatre-making & productive creativity...?

Simon @ Better Creating
Simon @ Better Creating
Creative processes are unpredictable. I’ve been trying to make make sense of them.

Creating something from scratch can be paralysing... but i think he's just acting...
Creating something from scratch can be paralysing... but i think he's just acting...
Today: how to achieve happy, productive creativity in our work? This week I want to share a story about the messiness of my creative day-job as a theatre director, and how it’s been informing my approach to building productivity systems and Notion templates… stay with me…!
Hello, happy Friday, and welcome to everyone who’s recently joined through downloading one of my Notion templates. Thanks so much for your support. I hope you enjoy these occasional snippets to your inbox. You can of course declutter and unsubscribe at any time!
Order In The Chaos: Theatre-Making & Notion Productivity Systems
Over the last few weeks I’ve been directing a theatre production at a drama school in London. We are creating something completely from scratch, with nothing but a simple starting point. That can be overwhelming to say the least. I realised as I started working with the actors, that whist I was happy to sit in this early state of not knowing, they most definitely felt exposed and unsure. From my perspective, I’d done this before and could see the path, they on the other hand, could not. And to be fair, not knowing the process they were embarking on, why should you know where to start? No script to focus on, no anchors or milestones to guide the way through the next 5-weeks. Ultimately, this can easily result in paralysis, taking in circles about end results, and trying to solve ideas before we’ve even started exploring them.
I realised: the reason I felt confident that I could productively create meaningful work quickly in a room was because I had a structured, proven process that helped focus my energy in stages. A productive system for creating something gives permission to make a creative mess and try ideas out without worrying about the end result. Good systems help us get in ‘the zone’ and in a ‘flow state’, because we can trust we will come out the other end in the right place.
So what’s this got to do with Notion?
Here’s my favourite way to look the process I using to create a theatre production:
  • Generating (exploring, testing and dreaming up possibilities)
  • Selecting (honing in on the value, sorting through the mess to find the best, most promising content and ideas)
  • Articulating (crafting that selected material into a final, valuable output)
I think any act of creativity, from developing a new product, setting up a business, producing a new video or podcast, or whatever can be broken down into these key stages. I stole this from the playwright Simon Stephens. He said it’s how he writes all of his plays: free-write in the notebook, type up the good stuff and make sense of it, articulate it into a first draft.
The idea template of my video on Notion ideas templates. Soooo meta.
The idea template of my video on Notion ideas templates. Soooo meta.
When I created my Notion dashboard for managing the Better Creating YouTube channel, I built my content creation templates around this principle. They offer specific places to generate ideas for videos and gather research and references in a ‘second brain’ system, and new video / project templates that guide you through the selecting and articulating process.
Check out my video about how I use Notion to develop ideas here: maybe it can offer some inspiration for how you approach developing whatever ideas you might be working on.
How I develop video ideas in Notion | Creative Productivity and the 3 stage creation process
How I develop video ideas in Notion | Creative Productivity and the 3 stage creation process
You might also enjoy this (old!) video which explores 12 unfinished sentences to help you explore and focus on what matters most to you in the work you do.
Find creative clarity and focus your career goals. Try this.
Find creative clarity and focus your career goals. Try this.
If you like the look of my content creation template, you can download it as part of my Creative Life OS here;
Tools to simplify your life.
Finally, consider also looking at Thomas Frank’s free YouTube Video tracker here that inspired my system:
Notion Tracker Template for YouTubers and Content Creators
Thanks for taking a moment, and see you next time.
Simon :)
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Simon @ Better Creating
Simon @ Better Creating @bettercreating1

Creative life simplified. I share occasional snippets and insights into ideas around productivity, creativity and simple living that can help us all make meaningful work & lead more intentional, stress-free lives.

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