Disappearing Ideas: Capture your creative bursts

English: The School of Athens (detail). Fresco...

English: The School of Athens (detail). Fresco, Stanza della Segnatura, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you noticed that when you are thinking about moving, all the ideas about decorating your new place flow, but when you move, you forget everything?  The same thing happens in the car and in the shower.  It seems to happen everywhere and at random moments except at the exact moment you need it.  This is a real big deal for writers.  Whether you are writing a personal development blog or the next big blockbuster screen play, ideas are the life blood of creative thinking.  The “bad timing” of ideas may be a matter of mental flow and outside influences.  For example, I get a lot of my ideas while running.  Usually I’m listing to podcasts or audiobooks and focused on nothing but running and listening.  My brain is flooded with positive brain stimulating endorphins at the same time I’m being influenced by motivational and idea filled TED talks and podcasts.  The shower is another unique place in our daily life where our mental focus changes from what’s being “thrown” at us to slowing down and not thinking much at all.  Most of us have showered thousands of times and don’t need any mental energy or focus whatsoever to complete this task.  Driving to work and often even grocery shopping is similar in this effect.  Although the level of mental focus needed for these simple, mundane tasks varies per person and task, these are opportunities for your mind to tap deeper “creative” sources in short bursts.  This is different from a “flow” state in which you are building upon one of these ideas such as hours of easy creative writing.  I am talking specifically about ideas coming at you in bunches.

Good ideas are gifts from God not to be wasted or filed away for safekeeping.

     What do you do with these ideas? Anytime the “idea gods” throw their wisdom your way, capture, capture, capture.  I utilize square space notes (attached to my Evernote account) on my iPhone for quick idea capture on the go.  Notepad, or good old-fashioned paper works as well.  Do not wait any longer than it take to safely stop and capture the idea.  It will disappear quicker than it appeared.  The beauty of capturing the idea for future use is that it frees up your mental RAM energy to dig around for more ideas.  If you find yourself coming up with ideas in a certain setting, take advantage of it.  Repeat as necessary. Of course, these ideas are useless unless you intentionally create time to do something with them.  Bad timing, as I wrote earlier, is better than “no timing” or no ideas.  Write, build, create and inspire with your ideas. 

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Life is a Shower, Now Go Sing!

Bohemian Rhapsody is a song for the ages.  It is perhaps the greatest shower singing song of all time. We all have our favorite songs to sing in the shower.  From ballads to rap to country music, the timeless art of singing in the shower is as human as eating and drinking. Solo singing when no one else is home has been scientifically proven (not really) to be the best as far as quality and loudness.  The shower has the almost magical ability to make any one sound like a Grammy award winning American Idol.  Of course, if this were the case, concert halls would look less like stadiums and more like showers.

d-203 singing

d-203 singing (Photo credit: azrasta)

The shower is a safe place to let loose and sing without judgment there’s no one there but yourself. Singing your favorite song is second nature and comes as natural as walking and talking.  You know the words without a thought and you sing with all the God given talent you have or don’t have. It sounds good and feels good because you are in the zone.  Imagine creating your art this way.

Art is what you do.  Cabinet making, marketing, driving a bus, or teaching a class; these are just some of the canvases of today’s artists. So many artists deprive the world of their masterpieces by listening to the Gremlins of self doubt. With an air of caution, they timidly “paint” within the lines, creating nothing remarkable and everything boring. They hold back and trip over doubt and perfectionism.  I tend to over think things.  Singing in the shower is coloring outside the lines.  You may not know the art better than the next guy, but you know the artist (YOU) better than anyone on the planet. Approach your work like singing in the shower.  When you let loose and get in creative flow, the art comes without a thought.  It’s almost like magic.  In a recent post, I wrote about how good the work is when you enjoy the work in and of itself.  When you know your stuff, and you enjoy it, life is a song. Have confidence that you will “paint” a masterpiece worth painting.

Do you have a safe place where everything simply flows without thought?  Share your thoughts.

Rocco De Leo

You Are The Joyful Artist

My 8 year old daughter, Angelina, sang her heart out last year in the 2nd grade Christmas show.  The sprit of the season was alive and well  in that school auditorium.  While she may not be the next American Idol, she was in her sweet spot.  She was joyfuly creating art; her art and loving every moment of it.  No one was scoring her pitch or tone.

Kids painting

Kids painting (Photo credit: BarelyFitz)

No assesment of costume design.  Hair and make-up were what you’d expect from dad and ten minutes of prep time.  None of that mattered.  She was enjoying the experience and still giving it her all.  She did it because she loves to sing and make me smile.  The bible tells us to have faith like a child (Mat 18:3).  This is Belief with no strings attached, totally focused on one thing.  Can we, as artists, create in the essence of “faith like a child”? To create a sustainable flow of content, we must! Driving home late last night, I struggled to keep the car straight and lane changes felt as deliberate as speaking an unknown language.  I was tired and didn’t feel well, so what normally is  “mental muscle memory” needed specific focus and deliberatness.  Driving, like walking and chewing gum, is much more effective with an element of the “automatic”.  The same is true for creativity.  Whether writing a book or developing a marketing campaign, we are all creating something.  We will be judged for the quality of our work by our customers, peers, and bosses.  If, we can capture some of the “freedom” Angelina had singing Jingle Bells,

we can move ourselves from deliberate and forced content creation to intentionaly free creation:

“creativity in the essence of faith like a child”. This doesn’t come with a 10 step or even 5 step how-to.

Free creation comes from intentional practice.

Unnecessary creation, a term coined by Todd Henry of the Accidental Creative suggests giving yourself projects for you that give you the chance to develop skills.  Being intentional with creativity, as I am with this blog, gives me a low risk opportunity to practice writing.  Maybe you want to paint, or sing, or build cabinets.  Do something for yourself that won’t get any judjement or expectation. Enjoy the process of building.  You are the joyful artist. Find your canvas. If you can’t enjoy the process of your art, you might be creating the wrong art.

Rocco De Leo