“Butt in chair,” is common advice to writers trying to get words on the page. However, I’ve found that unexpected things feed my creativity, things that have nothing to do with writing.
For example, I’ve been listening to Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us podcast on my drive to work. In an episode titled, “Brené with Tim Ferriss and Dax Shepard on Podcasting, Daily Practices, and the Long and Winding Path to Healing,” Brené asked Tim and Dax what is the one thing they do every day that is necessary for their wellbeing (paraphrased from my horrid memory). I’ve been thinking about that question a lot. Because their answers were surprising. I’ve been pondering the things that are necessary for my wellbeing and creativity and how they aren’t necessarily the same as the things I actually do everyday.
So I’m trying to actually DO the things that goose my muse.
Listening to Unlocking Us is one of my things. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that a show called UNLOCKING US makes me think about myself, others, the world, and connection, but I’m not always the brightest bulb. The current topic on the show is one of my favorite Brené books: The Gifts of Imperfection. Yes, I bought the ten year anniversary hardcover edition. Yes, I also sent a copy to my sister. Because Brené and HER sisters are discussing the book together every week in July! How cool is that?
Listening to Brené’s conversations with writers and artists makes me feel connected to the larger community of wounded, growing, healing, creative people. I didn’t know I needed that until my short commute to work led me to Unlocking Us. Now that my commute is over, I’ll have to find another space in my life for this podcast because I’m not giving it up. Other incredible conversations:
Dr. Clint Smith, author of How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America. I can’t stop thinking about this conversation. A must read book.
Alicia Keys, author of More Myself. This led me to Alicia Keys’s song “Fallin’” which is totally inspiring my new book!
Ashley C. Ford, author of Somebody’s Daughter. I had to stop in a parking lot and make some notes while listening to this one. Damn. I get tears in my eyes thinking about it. It took me ten steps closer to writing a book I’ve been thinking about for nearly twenty years.
By the way, my mother objected to my “Try Different Shit” motto last week. I knew it! Ha. I told her I was okay with that. It feels brave to me. Determined. Very “I laugh in the face of danger!” Invincible! Resilient with a sense of humor. (I love you, Mom.)
Writers and Goal Seekers, I encourage you to step out of your bubble and connect with a larger community of creatives, even in a way as introverted as listening to other people having a conversation which inspires you to read a book. Inspiration doesn’t always come from within. Sometimes you have to go looking for it and invite it to come inside. Find a podcast, a book, a song, a painting, a connection to something in the world that might open a portal to your own creative spirit.
I’ll see you next week, when I share another thing that has nothing to do with writing that is helping me create.