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To Create: Begin & Wait - Grasshopper

We've all experienced being creative but we traditionally don't know how to recreate that experience.

"It just happens when it happens; I really have no clue how to make it happen." That's the typical thing we say after creativity visits and leaves us a gift.

I submit there is a formula for creativity. It has two steps:

   1. Put yourself in a creative space.

   2. Begin and Wait.

My experience is this: Creativity happens in the space between our thoughts. We don't think our way to creativity. Creativity happens when we stop thinking.

Putting yourself in a creative space actually has two aspects:

   1. A physical location.

   2. A location that you can't measure.

The physical location is a place that lends itself to creativity. It's usually an environment that is comforting to you and/or where inspiration has appeared before.

The location that defies measurement and a detailed description is the space between your thoughts. We've all had the experience of something coming to us "from out of the blue." That's the space I'm referring to.

So once you find the physical space, it's time to begin the project you're seeking inspiration for. So let's pretend that you're writing the "Great American Novel." You've done the mental and physical work of doing an outline and assigning chapter headings but you have yet to begin the actual writing. Pick a chapter heading and begin writing.

The opening sentence doesn't have to be F. Scott Fitzgerald or Agatha Christie worthy. The process just needs to begin, just like a speech starts with the first word or the longest journey begins by tying your sneakers.

Once you begin, you will come to a point where you stop and are stymied as to what to write next. That's when you employ the magic of waiting.

Most people go into a mental wrestling match at this point, and this torturous habit only produces mental noise that drowns out creativity.

Waiting means to trust that there is a part of you that has the next sentence, paragraph, or connecting idea that will propel you forward. Successful professional athletes have an expression for this phenomenon: "Let the game come to you."

Let creativity come to you. It's lying in wait; you just have to create the space for it to arrive. Waiting creates that space. Waiting isn't filled with other activities like checking your email or texts. It's just waiting with no mental or physical agenda. Waiting is "expecting" by another name. Expect that your creative part will deliver, especially when you have created a parking space for it to use.

Waiting is pausing your mental activity long enough for creativity to slip through. If you decide to go into thinking mode at this point, it will be a long wait.

Many are waiting for creativity to strike without doing anything to propel its journey. Creativity overcomes inertia when you do. That means to physically begin your project and then wait for inspiration to come after you've begun, not before.

Waiting without beginning is just fruitless waiting. Waiting after you've begun delivers a harvest.

Waiting takes practice, and the more often you begin and wait, the more often you open up the creativity gate.

This much I know for sure: You will surprise yourself with the amount of creativity that comes through you when you begin to give it the space created by wait.

All the best,

John



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