“You can’t schedule creativity.” I said this in a recent podcast episode. It’s a phrase that’s been haunting me lately. More like, forever.
Determination means nothing if you’re not in the right mindset. (I know, because I’m a REALLY determined woman.) You can’t force the creative process. You can’t sit down and will it into being. You will end up getting up to do the laundry or clean floors before it shows up. And it will show up when you least expect it.
Creativity is like a stubborn child.
It needs quiet time, playtime, nap time, time outdoors, and time to release all of its energy before it can go to bed. Most of us sit behind a laptop, stare at the screen and say “Let’s be creative,” but we are typically staring at a TV screen, flipping through our social media, and wonder why we’re not being creative enough.
You CAN create the right environment for creativity. You CAN put together a routine to help the creative process along. You hear about authors going to the lake, the ocean or the mountains to write. They find solitude and they’re also closer to nature – to the essence of who they are as humans. They find the open space to let their brains free.
Trying to schedule creativity ends up being more of a mess than it’s worth.
I’ve been trying to write a book for two years. And when I say trying, I don’t mean writing – I mean, planning, thinking about it, and hoping for it to happen. Some say you can’t TRY to be an author, you have to WRITE to be an author.
Then I get busy again. I have all of the material. I have a pile of Moleskines filled with notes. I have a quiet environment, I wake up early, and somehow I don’t seem to want it badly enough – my “busy” life, my ever growing to-do lists, my phone’s notifications, and the ticking clock always creep in to remind me it’s not time to be creative. And then I hope for time in the future that will be well-balanced. My future self is ALWAYS more balanced than I am. You know how that works… it doesn’t.
As an introvert who plays an extrovert in the outside world, I LOVE spending time by myself. The recharge is what I crave. The quiet time with a book, a notebook, chilled out music, and a clean house. This last part is usually the death of my creativity. Just now, I had to start the laundry, clean up the kitchen, put away the collecting items from the dining room table, wipe down the bathroom counters, put on some makeup – oh, yeah, and earrings… because you know, what happens if I have to see someone. In my house. Sigh.
I am a productive procrastinator. If I have something to do that I know will eat up a bunch of brain space, I’ll find little things to make me feel productive first – and then never get around to that to-do list item I REALLY need to do.
Liz Gilbert talks about this in her book, Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear. She shares that great ideas are bouncing around all the time – like little fairies. The idea muse touches down on you to show you that this great idea will be yours and only yours. It will touch you and ask for you to host it – to take care of it, nurture it into the real world. That’s the key – you have to DO something with it. You can have the best idea come to you, yet if you don’t do anything with it, it will fly off and find someone else to host it. And then you’re watching the news wondering how THAT person got THAT idea when you thought of it first. *throws fists at the sky* It’s because they DID something with the idea. Just like this blog post (and the podcast episode in here) – I keep getting reminders to write it – then finally broke myself from cleaning (my productive procrastination) and decided the floors didn’t need sweeping – I had to write this.
I recently heard about the Ambrosial Hours on the Beautiful Writers Podcast. Guru Singh talks about the 2.5 hours before the sun comes up when rays of arriving light are infrared. This invisible light carries vast quantities of information for nourishing life. The time when meditation and yoga is best. The time before the rest of the world is awake. It’s the best creative time because we’re the most open to receiving the information to nourish the world. What a perfect time for me to write. Right? Sigh.
One of my favorite authors & pastors, Mark Batterson, talks about how he first got pushed by God to write his first book. He knew it was time but he had to create the right environment for getting it out of himself. Despite not being an early bird, he woke up way earlier than the rest of the East Coast and wrote. Every morning, he wrote. Until it was done. He created routine and an environment to make sure creativity happened. He knows it was a God-idea birthed in him years before – and when it was time, he created the space for it to become a reality.
Just like Liz Gilbert talks about little ideas bopping around looking for a host, the Divine (God, the Universe, your greater power) gives you God-ideas. They aren’t just good ideas, they’re divinely appointed. And it’s up to you to host them and bring them out into the world.
You can’t schedule creativity, but you CAN feed it and give it the space it needs to show up.
After 2 years of talking about it, I’ve scheduled 2 weeks in Costa Rica with nothing to do aside from sit on the beach, push my SPEAK With Confidence rockstars to write their talks, and write this (crazy) book proposal. This proposal has been weighing on me and I KNOW it’s time to write it. But I can’t show up to the beach with nothing ready – I have to create the schedule now so I can drop right into it. I have to start preparing so I can write while I’m there. I have to start this environment for the creative process to flow.
So, I had an incredible talk with my guy (who LOVES to sleep) about getting up during the Ambrosial Hours to write. He has so much to write as well – and we have to get prepped for this trip. So, we’re committing to scheduling Ambrosial Hours time to let the creativity flow – and then we’re going to get up early during the 2 weeks we’re on vacation and go deep with this writing process.
What do YOU have inside of you that needs the right environment to come out? Listen in to this week’s podcast episode to hear more about this and then join the challenge to see where it takes you.
Get the worksheet & get creative
Download this worksheet to help your creative process along. Start it the night before and finish it the day of – and then tell me how it’s going!
If you are ready to craft & deliver a talk, jump into SPEAK With Confidence. It’s a 6-week course (or you can go-at-your-pace) with a huge workbook, a community, and loads of videos to help you get your talk of you. sign up here