Seeding Creativity.

Written by Denise CornellCreativity

I live in a region known as Flash Flood Alley. Summer here is relentlessly hot and dry. Water usage is restricted, lawns turn brown, creeks dry up and our shallow soil cracks open. Relief comes — eventually — usually as a torrential downpour, dumping a lot of rain in a short period of time. That rain quickly turns into a wall of fast moving water with no regard for anything in its path.

I used to think the creative process was like a flash flood. Waiting out the dry spells. Waiting for inspiration to strike. It sounded so…artistic and kind of sexy. Like you’re this chosen being walking the Earth waiting for the gods to bestow greatness upon you. I was certainly not one of the chosen and I assumed I was destined to remain firmly placed in my left brain world.

Then on the pages of Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield I met the liberating truth: The “muse” rewards those who do the work.

I didn’t need to be chosen. I didn’t need to be labeled creative. I simply needed to do the work and trust that the rain would come. It was the permission I needed to expand, to push the boundaries of my self-imposed limits.

The secret is in the momentum of doing. Start, then keep starting. Sometimes you’ll produce complete rubbish. That’s ok. It’s the movement that matters. But, you can improve your odds of getting beautiful results by seeding the clouds — creating an atmosphere that feeds your mind.

My Seeding Formula, in no particular order.

  • One part, Aspiring Novice. Because expertise is too limiting. I’m curious about so many things, most of which have no direct connection to my everyday work. Books, stories, speeches, great interviews — I can’t get enough.
  • One part, Gardening. The garden is one of the few places I completely lose track of time.
  • One part, Pen and Paper. To really pull a concept together nothing beats blank paper and colored pens. (Chisel point EXPO markers, please.) I have to get the thoughts out of my head and give them room to breathe.
  • One part, Where the water meets the trees. A river bank, a mountain stream, a quiet pond — any of these will do the trick. Worries fade. Clarity reigns.
  • One part, Sleep. I’m useless when I’m tired.

Your formula will look different from mine. But I bet you’ll discover, like I did, that you can set favorable conditions for inspiration, but all the input, processing, quieting your mind, moving your body is for nothing unless you sit and do the work.

Only in doing, drop by drop, do we find the flood of ideas.

Written by
Denise Cornell
Denise Cornell is a tech marketing veteran turned marketing consultant based out of Austin, Texas. She helps entrepreneurs to get cozy with their customers. But beyond this, she writes. She writes in service to the examined life, answering the creative call and her personal philosophy of Truth Over Strategy (which is also how she runs her business).

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