1. Bathtubbing. That means writing and writing and writing until you get something good. Letting the shanks, the crap, the not-so-good material come out first and swirl into the drain. This allows you to release it without committing to keeping it.
Eventually, once you’ve found your rhythm – the groove and the tempo of your creative nature – and once you stop pumping out cold water and start releasing the hottest, best stuff you got – THEN you jam that rubber plug into the drain and bathe in its beauty. (Here’s a great journaling exercise to make this happen.)
The challenge is, you’ve GOT to be in it for the long haul. Because the longer you write, the more likely you are to discover things that weren’t available to you at the onset. Like waiting for the water to turn hot. You’ve got to stand there, naked by shower, holding your hand under the spigot every few minutes, just to see if it’s turned yet. Are you constantly moving until meaning and truth manifest?
2. Be innocent and ignorant. Curiosity, innocence and youth = creativity. So, even if you’re not that sweet little untainted whippersnapper anymore, your goal is to temporary suspend your adult habit of self-criticism.
To silence that goddamn crotchety grownup inside of your head and let your inner child – so beautiful, honest and pure – broadcast his creative spirit and come out to play. Are you growing UP or growing OLD?
3. Creativity is about being uncomfortable. Develop your a tolerance for ambiguity. Fear only the KNOWN. Comfort zones are overrated, anyway. Take fanatical risks. Let’s get glorious! Explore the magnificent foreign terrain of your mind.
And, be comfortable NOT knowing what something is at the beginning, trusting that you’ll figure it out when you get there. Have unshakable faith in those unplaceable thoughts that catch your inner attention. Sure, some ideas may come without any visible anchors, but they DO have a destination. How are you practicing intentional discomfort?
4. Glug, glug, glug. Take a swig and drink in the world. Swish it around for a while like a dental patient and spit it back into the steel basin that is your canvas. What are you drinking in?
5. Observe inner patterns. Never ignore the persistent imagery that touches your soul. It’s a clue. It’s what you should be writing about. So, honor that which constantly invades the landscapes of your dreams, follow it down the rabbit hole and see where it leads. Are your dreams trying to tell you something?
6. Paint, schmaint. Your medium is YOU. The human soul. Not paint. Not clay. Not the written word. YOU. Your life. Your truth. You are the stuff art is made of. What medium are you creating with?
7. Oontz … oontz … oontz. Let the rhythm grab hold of your heart. Boogie all across the page. It’ not a canvas or a page – it’s a dance floor. And the music never stops. Only YOU choose to change the volume. How often are you dancing?
8. Pitch black. You create in the dark, not knowing what else is in the room. But then, when you least expect it, the light suddenly flickers on. And all around you – on the walls, floors and ceilings – you see an illumination of beautiful truth.
BUT, only if you trust your pen, passion, abilities and the inherent geometrical organization of your ideas. Only if you’re willing to (eventually) uncover the intrinsic poetry in your thoughts. Are you willing to create blindly?
9. Refuse to discard hunches. Cherish that moment when your eyes squint, your brow furrows and your head tilts to the side like a curious dog … because you’re noticing something. You’re SEEING something. Something good. Always trust that peripheral perception. (Learn my creative capturing process called “Freezing.”)
Be awake to (and respect the integrity OF) the words that seize you and refuse to let you go until you’ve given them careful consideration. And remember to say the most important three words of creative discovery: “Now THAT’S interesting…” What irregularities are you finding to be interesting?
10. Render everything you observe in some way. “Render” comes from the French word, rendre, which means, “To give back, present, yield.” So, you see something. It collides with your brain. Merges with your heart. Co-mingles with your creative soul.
Then, it bounces off of you, returning to the world though the new guise of your own personal filter of truth and passion. Through YOUR eyes. How are you rendering everything you observe?
11. Start anywhere, then go back and let it lead you somewhere. That means transforming vague, non-directed and unharnessed ideas into expanded chunks of creative perfection. That means taking something that (initially) makes no sense, then returning to legitimize it.
Think of it this way: You let the hose run for a while, allowing whatever type of water that wants to come out … to come out. Then, you go back later and jam your thumb into the spout. This narrows, focusing and lasers your idea, casting it into a healthier, more coherent structure. Are you reworking generality into genius?
12. Writing = Wring It. Literally. Another anagram. And what a great word, too. Wring. That means you write and write and write until there’s nothing left to write, at least, for the moment.
You take an idea and squeeze out its essence. Twist out the juice. Gripping so forcefully that the veins in your forearm pop out, mangling your material until SOME meaning comes. Ah, yes, art: The Glorious Squeegee. What did you juice today?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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