John Cleese on Creativity

Posted by  admin —September 28, 2010
Filed in Creative Stuff

Here’s a video of John Cleese in a more serious moment. He reflects on his own creative process and illuminates some lessons in this 10 minute video. These are not new, but worth reminding ourselves nonetheless. Some points that I picked up …

1. Sleeping on a problem (eg. writer’s block on a report/story) not only helps the solution become clear … the problem seems to vanish altogether – and so the subconscious mind does the work for you

In conferences we facilitate or attend, the ‘overnight rule’ means that even if at the end of Day 1 everyone is stuck and ‘groaning’, usually a dinner catch up and sleep makes all the difference! So, if you have a chance to meet over 2 days with group on a complex issue … take it!

2. Ever lost a manuscript or a report you have written … and then been forced to re write it from memory? John’s did this and then found the original. What he discovered was that the re written script was far better than the original – another example of the subconscious mind continuing to work on the script over time.

For me, if I get stuck, I write a blog post about ‘whatever’ … even if it’s irrelevant. It might seem like a distraction, but it’s my way of putting aside something that I’m struggling with.

3. When trying to be creative and write something/solve something where you have to carry thoughts, ideas and concepts in your mind, the most dangerous thing is to be interrupted!

4. Busy people who have many things going on and huge to-do lists CANNOT EVER be creative!

Creating the Conditions for Cretaivity

1st Create a boundary of Space – Build a Tortoise Enclosure or an Oasis in the middle of everything else in life that is spinning and going too fast. Somewhere to slow down and avoid interruptions.

2nd Create boundaries of time – give yourself a starting time and a finishing time, be disciplined and then stick to it.


  1. Wilma says:

    Hey! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

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