Invisible Creative Productivity

So I did it, right? I’m a blogger now? All the posts and topics will be easy from here on out?

Hahahaha…The reality is that the floodgates haven’t opened with tons of beautiful, helpful material as fast as my fingers could type it.

But that is okay. Or at least I’m trying to be okay with it.

Despite my toiling to come up with more posts, there is a “creative process” that is happening. My friend, Hiro Boga, has written beautifully about this in her new blog.

I hope you’ll all read it in its entirety, but here is a snippet:

On the surface, my life in this time of gestation–before the next creation emerges–looks ordinary enough…

But underneath this seemingly boring surface I can feel the engine of my life revving up . . .  brrmm, brrrmmmmmm . . . Thrumming with a finely pitched pulse.

Until the moment when it reaches lift-off.

Ah yes…it’s so important to know that there are things happening beneath the surface. Because so often it doesn’t look – or even feel – that way.

I should know…it’s been three years since I first had the desire to start a blog.  And there were other attempts that went nowhere. And don’t even get me started on some of the other projects (which shall remain nameless – for now) that I wanted to do that never got off the ground.

Yet, here I am – posting to my blog.

My point is that for a long time it felt like I would NEVER do this blog thing. That I’d never get past my fears (not over them – just past them) to start doing the thing.

And it wasn’t until I took that first “public” step that I could look back and see that all the frustration and struggling served a purpose. Even if I can’t explain why, I know it was what I needed in order to get from there to here.

It may or may not always be hard like this.

I don’t know if I can even generalize that this IS my creative process, because frankly, this is my first creative venture in quite some time. Maybe I don’t even know what my process is anymore.

Here are some ideas that have helped me get through this.  Maybe they will help you to give birth to something creative.

1. Above all else, cut yourself slack as much as you’re able.

Beating yourself up for not doing something tends to kill any spark of creativity.

I’d wanted to start a blog for years and all my stomping and tearing my hair out didn’t get it going. I really believe it was the process of backing off from the goal that allowed it to come into being.

Are you allowed to be pissed and throw tantrums? Of course. The paradox is that you also need to cut yourself slack for not being able to cut yourself slack.

2. Ideas take time to gestate (as Hiro put it, above). Or, we don’t control the timing.

I believe there was a combination of things (call them lessons that I had to learn) that needed to be in place before the blog could come into existence. Sometimes we have control over when those things happen, but often we don’t.  And believe me, tantrums don’t serve as a shortcut.

The project – whatever it may be – will be born when it’s ready.

3. Banish all expectations about the outcome.

Whenever I think about a potential project in terms of how it will look when it’s finished, I’m setting myself up for failure.

A year ago when I thought about starting a blog, I would think about having a huge list of subscribers or daily awe-inspiring posts and it instantly created a scenario I couldn’t live up to. So I didn’t even try.

Instead of defining the success of this project in terms of readership or alexa ranking, I’m working toward defining it in terms of “Hey, I did the thing I thought I couldn’t do.” Or “I still started this thing even though I might fall on my face.”

What does this all come back to? TRUST.

Trust. Trust. Trust.

Trust in the creative process.

Trust that the process is happening even if we can’t feel it or see it.

Trust that it will bear fruit in its own time.

Trust that – no matter who is (or is not) looking at the output – it has value and should be honored.

5 thoughts on “Invisible Creative Productivity

  1. Chibi Jeebs

    “Above all else, cut yourself slack as much as you’re able.”

    This is something I need to strive towards in every aspect of my life. I am much harder on myself than others and expect more more of myself than anyone else. If you don’t mind, I’m going to incorporate this idea in my everyday life — I like how you’ve worded it.

  2. Nick

    Story after story we hear the lesson, “It’s not the destination but the journey.” And yet time and time again, I still get this picture in my mind of something epic at the end.

    I shake it off, and work on being “right now” for a few moments. Shake the etch-a-sketch in my mind.

  3. Julie

    Reminds me of a quote I have had in my office for years:

    Life is not about finding yourself, but creating yourself.


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