Creative momentum and action overflow

I’m in the midst of final preparation for two presentations I’m giving at a national conference next week. As the conference week approaches my focus is sharpening, and I’m making good progress on my work. And I’m enjoying it. I wake up excited about fine-tuning my thoughts and the slides I’m creating. I get to the office and work with purpose. I find I’m less likely these last couple of weeks to wander off into internet distractions. I’ve been putting my headphones on mid-morning and working intently, shutting off the world for an hour or so at a time.

What has surprised me has been how productive I’ve been on other projects during this time. It’s as though working with focus on one project has spilled this extra energy into other areas of my work and my life. There’s been this wonderful overflow of action. Creative momentum has led me to post six days in a row on this blog, something I’ve never done. What if I did this every day? Instead of waiting for inspiration to strike, which seems to be an infrequent occurrence, what if I just treat every day like an important project deadline is looming? And just start doing something.

When you work regularly, inspiration strikes regularly. –Gretchen Rubin

Consume, create, share. That’s the cycle I’ve been on lately. Or, is it: create, consume, create, share? Creating has sparked consumption of new material as much as reading has sparked new ideas. As I’m trying to make things, I keep searching for and stumbling across new ideas which in turn spark more action, and then I want to share and keep going. I’ve been consuming much more information while working on this project, and ideas seem to be popping. I came across this quotation recently while exploring the power of taking action:

Our creativity comes from without, not from within. We are not self-made. We are dependent on one another, and admitting this to ourselves isn’t an embrace of mediocrity and derivativeness. It’s a liberation from our misconceptions, and it’s an incentive to not expect so much from ourselves and to simply begin.
 –Kirby Ferguson

“Everything is a Remix”, indeed. And if you’re holding off on your work until you’ve got a truly “original” idea, you’ll never do anything. “Simply begin” and see where the act of creation takes you.

I’m going to see how long I can keep this creative momentum rolling. I’m tempted to challenge myself to post something public every day. Seth Godin offers that challenge and says no one ever complains of getting “talker’s block”, so don’t complain of writer’s block:

Writer’s block isn’t hard to cure.

Just write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better.

I believe that everyone should write in public. Get a blog. Or use Squidoo or Tumblr or a microblogging site. Use an alias if you like. Turn off comments, certainly–you don’t need more criticism, you need more writing.

Do it every day. Every single day. Not a diary, not fiction, but analysis. Clear, crisp, honest writing about what you see in the world. Or want to see. Or teach (in writing). Tell us how to do something.

If you know you have to write something every single day, even a paragraph, you will improve your writing. If you’re concerned with quality, of course, then not writing is not a problem, because zero is perfect and without defects. Shipping nothing is safe.

The second best thing to zero is something better than bad. So if you know you have to write tomorrow, your brain will start working on something better than bad. And then you’ll inevitably redefine bad and tomorrow will be better than that. And on and on.

Write like you talk. Often.

Stay tuned. (Or not. I realize I’m posting publicly, but I’m not looking for page views or to become an A-list blogger. If someone reads my stuff and has a new possibility awakened in them, I’m delighted. But I’m writing as much for my own benefit as I am for readers. And that you are reading this is amazing. How cool to live in the 21st century, right? Welcome to the future.)