“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu
Before I started this whole storytelling venture. I read the book “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Show of hands, who’s read it? . . . Right?!!! So many people recommend this book, but it’s a cliche for a reason. This book is jammed packed with pragmatic, yet inspirational advice. It is a great resource for setting out on any kind of creative practice. My biggest takeaway from the book is:
Creativity is a skill that you can learn like anything else and there are so many ways of being creative. You just have to find that routine that works for you and allows you to foster your craft.
The key is sticking to a routine!
Digger knows what I’m talkin’ about!
40 Minutes a Day…
I recently participated in a “40 for 40 Challenge” with podcaster and business guru Marty Vids. (sidebar, Marty Vids has a fantastic podcast called “The Marty Vids Show” where he interviews interesting people from around the world to discover how they found their “Remarkable!!!” Okay getting back to the challenge now …) Along with a group of other creatives from around the world, we carved out 40 minutes a day for a practice for 40 days in a row. From this challenge I learned a great new routine for helping me stick to a writing schedule.
1. Make the Time: Carve out 40 minutes a day for a creative practice. (If possible perform this routine at the same time every day!)
2. Find a Ritual: Do a couple of stretches, grab a mug of tea, shut off your phone and start writing.
3. STICK WITH IT! The first week was AWESOME! Everyone was doing great work but then after the first 10 days went by, the challenge became more and more difficult to stick with. I missed some days here and there but I held myself accountable to make up that time and eventually finished the 40 days. Now I have both a creative AND productive practice!
4. Rinse Repeat & REJOICE!!! Things might not flow very easily at first but after some time of continuing with this routine, creativity will become automatic for you.
Seemingly simple right? I’m not gonna lie yall, it’s hard. We are all living such busy lives and there are a million other things we can justify spending our time on… but you guys… this is your “music.” If you don’t make the time and put in the work, you will never get your music out into the world. Trust me… people want to hear it, so take the time to make it.
Find a healthy balance between “Creating” & “Consuming”
I found that I had more time to create when I started giving up some of my guilty pleasures. One of these “gp’s” was binge watching trashy elimination style reality tv shows. I “cut em’ out” for a while (or gave them “the chop” if you will…), and started spending more time on my work. I feel a lot more focused when I cut out those addictive entertainment distractions. But when I do take the time to enjoy content, I am a lot more choosier…
Choose to Consume Great Content!
Read outside of your comfort zone, explore new genres. Try some nonfiction topics that peak your interest but know little about. Listen to podcasts!!! There are so many great history, science and language podcasts out there! They are perfect to listen to while you are driving, doing chores, going for walks. You can learn so many cool things about the world and discover new passions that will inspire your creativity and storytelling. In my experience, great non-fiction leads to great fiction.
Here are some examples of content that directly influenced my stories:
The podcast “Every Little Thing” did an episode all about houseplants. Where they are grown, why certain species are so popular in homes and offices and the historical origins of the plants. It made me look at these seemingly boring old houseplants in completely new light and inspired me to write my own podcast episode called “Myrtle goes Outside” – which is the story of a little houseplant who escapes out the window goes on a crazy outdoor adventure.
Another example is a non-fiction book called “The River of Doubt” by Candace Millard. It is an incredible account of Teddy Roosevelt’s harrowing trip to the Amazon jungle. This book is totally not for kids but it sparked an interest for me to learn more about the Amazon and in turn my new interest it into a podcast episode called “The Amazon Jamazon”. The story features a cool original jungle jam and teaches children about all kinds of plants and animals that are native to the Amazon.
So again if you stick to a good creative routine and consume interesting content, great stories will begin to flow from you just like the Amazon River!!!
“OW OWWWW… Let your music OUT!!!”