Friends and family are painfully aware of how obsessed I have become with Beethoven lately. My plan is to have 10 of his piano sonatas in my brain and fingertips at any one time, ready to play by memory on demand. I’ve been listening to his music, studying his scores, and even reading biographies.
And that’s where I discovered one thing I have in common with Beethoven – to maximize our creativity, both of us rely upon changing locations. Here’s a passage from a short and engaging Beethoven biography by Edmund Morris:
“There was quite enough variety for him, in the twenty-three years he had left: different spas, different hill towns, and so many changes of city address that he once found himself paying four different rents simultaneously. But the very force of all this mobility (even from the country, he was forever catching coaches back into Vienna) spins into a biographical blur .”
Beethoven found that changing location helped change his mindset, and increased his composing productivity. I find the same thing in my work. Sometimes picking up and going to a coffee shop for two hours helps me get more done than four hours in my office could accomplish.