A reader recently posted this question to me, “I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing. I’ve had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin.”
It is a great question. How do you center yourself prior to doing important work or prior to thinking about something that matters to you?
Whether or not you are a writer, I hope you will get something from this. I hope this will help you to think about your own process of creation whether you are writing, starting a business, beginning a project, or making a personal change.
If you want to accomplish anything important to you, you have to first figure out how to make it your own. What works for someone else may or may not work for you, but will likely take a great amount of trying it on.
Whenever you or I create, we are a semiconductor.
Bear with me here… this is important. A Semiconductor is a material that is both an insulator and also a conductor. Without getting too technical, a semiconductor operates like an on/off switch for an electrical circuit. At a certain temperature it allows little or no current to pass through (depending on the design). Things get really exciting when you apply heat or electricity to it. This is where the semiconductor transforms. It turns on, it conducts and magnifies the energy that it releases.
Gather – Connect – Release
As a writer, a creator, a leader, a parent, a teacher or a business person you are a semiconductor. You gather and you create and through this process you are transformed.
When you create, you are connected to the Circuit. You draw in energy in the form of thoughts, inspiration, connection with others, ideas and research. You transform that energy by connecting it with your own experience, your way of thinking about the world and your ideas. You add value, you make it your own and you are changed in the process.
Then you do it. You release what you have created. You become a channel for influence, for motivation, for story and for information to your readers.
Creating is semiconducting: Writing, painting, learning music, teaching, creating a business, or changing yourself. Different application but the same process: Gather – Connect – Release.
Be The Bulb
Don’t ever worry about being brilliant, funny, smart or wise. The light bulb does not worry about whether or not it will light up the entire block, it just turns on. It is screwed up but it does what it supposed to do: give light to whoever is paying attention. Don’t worry about trying to be something more, or something less than you are. Be turned on to life as you write, read, collect, think. Go ahead, be a screw up… that is what will make you brilliant when you are ready. Be the bulb.
- For more, I highly recommend the Icharus Deception by Seth Godin.
Related to the first point, write about what makes YOU feel more alive. It may be cooking or computer games or fruit or parenting or travelling or math or dirt or employment or coaching or art or candy. As a semiconductor, your interests are your source of energy. If something makes you feel alive, use that as a sign that points to where you need to begin.
“The light bulb is screwed up but it does what it supposed to do: give light to whoever is paying attention.”
Decide what you are interested in. Read books about your interest and talk about your ideas with people you know. Ask them what they think about the topic, but don’t give any importance to their criticism. Most people talk. Writers write. Creators create. Remember that the Semiconductor thrives on flow. Let the ideas flow through you.
You will get it wrong. You will think you are onto a good idea and then you will share it. It will fall flat. Then you will think you have an idea that sucks and someone will like it. You will get it wrong… because other people have different interests. They are using your light to find whatever it is they need. Keep writing because after a while, what you have to say will resonate. You will heat up and the electricity will flow.
If you wish, you can read other people’s blogs for ideas… but don’t do too much of that. You don’t want to get your mind too full of other people’s ideas. Think for yourself. Feel and own what you have to say… and even if you have nothing “brilliant” to say yet. See point #1.
Whenever you create, you risk. When you create, your risk is being who you are. The more real you are, the more you Semiconduct. Some people may misunderstand what you create… but know that way more people will love it!
Life deposits layers over your heart. These layers come from expectations, idealism, perfectionism, pain, anxiety and pure idiocy. Creating is uncovering your heart, getting closer to your Source, your Energy. You clear off the Life Dust and you conduct a little more each time you create. When you uncover your heart, your electricity is magnified. You are a Semiconductor. You heat up and you channel. You may bring attention to shadows that were once easily ignored. You will risk but not everyone will appreciate where you throw your light because your light might not be what they wanted. Write anyway.
“Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”
Steven Pressfield in The War of Art, p. 165
Keep it real