Today is International Biographers Day. In recognition of biographers and sharing our stories, I have a story to tell.
“Where do you get your ideas from?”
Sometimes I get asked where my ideas come from. My best answer is that life is a writing prompt.
Creativity is like reading in the darkness.
Imagine that you are camping. The sun has crept behind the mountains and the stars begin to peek out from their hiding places. The sun no longer gives it’s light so you turn on your flashlight, your torch. The night is cool and it is quiet. You sit in a comfortable chair near the fire and read, surrendering your attention to your book.
Your book pulls you in. You are lost in a story, immersed in another time, another place. Each of your senses are recruited to make the story come to life.
When you read in the dark, a few things are happening: You are inspired, pulled into your book, and at the same you attract attention to what you are doing.
Candle in the darkness, light on a hill – these attract attention because they light while everything else is dark. Add an inspiring, compelling, riveting book and you immerse yourself in a creative stream. You are both being inspired and because of the light that you give off, you attract attention.
What you do (read a good book) inspires you and at the same time attracts attention (because everything else is dark around you).
Creativity is both what you are doing and what you are attracting. It is both an action and it is an attraction.
When you create, first your creation will create you
You search for information about making cakes and it seems like out of nowhere you are bumping into other cake-makers, new recipes and new cake-making products. You learn about framing your basement: whether you ask for it or not all of your friends now want to tell you their best tips and ways to avoid your own framing faux-pas, and at the same time new ideas come to you about work-arounds to your unique framing problems.
You take an action, and that action creates an attraction: you create and it creates you.
My richest ideas seem to come when I have multiple projects going at the same time. If I plan two or three hours to focus hard on one thing, it seems that ideas become shy and they play hide and seek. I run into dead ends or problems that I cannot solve. After creating a sweat over trying to make it work, I leave the problem alone and go on to something else.
When I am busy doing other work, yet aware and listening, ideas perk up and seem to speak to me. It is as though ideas wait until they are needed.
Picture walking in a mountain valley and screaming to the wildlife “I am here, come to me.” Wanting, demanding will frighten away the very wildlife that you want to experience. In the same way, ideas are like wild animals. They run for cover when you scream at them to pay attention to you. They are around you but they come out at the quiet and unsuspecting moments.
Creativity, like reading in the dark, is part creative action and creative attention. For certain, an idea can be crafted and honed using larger banks of time, but nothing can beat the importance of creative listening: being aware of yourself, your circumstance, your conversations, your events and happenstance. In the every-dayness of life, that is where the shyest ideas lay hidden. In fact, they may lie dormant for years until you are ready to listen.
Your creation wants to create you. Art will change us when we learn to listen, to trust and to step away from what is comfortable and embrace the possible.
Every good artist paints what he is.
Life itself happens in between scheduled events and planned activities. Without the structure, we would waste ourselves, our skills and our opportunities. But with too much structure, we won’t pay attention.
I write articles about wellness, leadership, parenting and personal growth. My hope is to deliver the best content I can to inspire, to inform and to entertain. Sign up for my blog if you want to receive the latest and best of my writing. If you like what I have to say, please share my work with your friends.
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Keep it Real