One of my most successful, creative and productive clients spends the first few hours of every day meditating, writing in her journal, and biking. She doesn’t spend a few minutes each day on these rituals, she spends hours. And she does all three things every day. It is during this time that she comes up with her most creative ideas. Instead of seeing this as time spent away from work, she knows these activities fuel her creativity.
Another stunningly creative person was Thomas Leonard, the founder of the life coaching profession. Thomas said, “Creativity is a function of space.” He also said, “Boredom is the gateway to peace.”
Creative people often need time to potter about the house or garden, tidy up their desk or otherwise piddle away time—or so it might appear, but it is all part of the creative process. It is very hard to just plunk down in front of a blank sheet of paper or canvas and create. It takes a bit of warming up. So don’t feel guilty about your pottering time. It is essential to the creative process. The mind is working on the problem while you are busy pulling weeds or fluffing pillows.
If you want to tap into your own creative genius, put some blank space in your calendar—the more the better. Follow the advice of Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way and write three pages a day in a journal, even if all you can think to write is, “I have nothing to say” or, “I like bagels for breakfast.” Fill up three pages. Do this in the morning right after you roll out of bed every day and you will become more creative—whether you are a painter, a writer or a business person. Awaken your inner artist! You may well enjoy reading this article— Make the Best Career Choice: Use the Joy Filter for Decision Making.
Start Courting Your Muse
So many times we wait to start something until inspiration strikes and when that inspiration wanes, we stop. We are waiting for the time to be right, for that elusive day when we’ll have more time and more money and can start the thing we really want to do in life. It doesn’t matter if this is a health and fitness plan, a novel, or any other big endeavor. When Somerset Maugham was asked if he wrote on a schedule or when struck by inspiration he replied, “I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.” As Pressfield writes in his brilliant little book, The War of Art:
Maugham reckoned another, deeper truth: that by performing the mundane physical act of sitting down and starting to work, he set in motion a mysterious but infallible sequence of events that would produce inspiration, as surely as if the goddess had synchronized her watch with his. He knew if he built it, she would come.
Therein lies the key to success. Sit down and give your current initiative your best hour of the day. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, open your email—that is like opening Pandora’s box and you’ll be lost inside it for hours. You’ll have squandered your freshness on some stale email. Instead, give your first and best hour of every day to your special task, big project, or your creative endeavor. Make this practice sacred and your muse will find you and sit perched on your shoulder.