Once upon a time, before “Rock of Ages” hit Broadway, I used to teach writing and creativity classes in Los Angeles. The whole idea behind the classes was to help people “get out” the artistic idea that was inside of them. And I loved doing it. I would rent little classrooms in Silverlake and in Venice, and then writers, actors, directors, and all sorts of creatives would come and we would work on “giving birth” to their visions. It was literally one of the most thrilling processes for me, and I’m sure I learned as much as I taught. By working with other artists, I saw lots of similarities in the creative process, and it changed my life. No kidding.
The first thing that became so clear was that there’s an idea that wants to come into the world through every person. I know you’ve heard it before, but once I started teaching, I could see it — we all came into this world with a purpose, and one that was tailor made for who we are. Sometimes I felt like I wanted to jump out of my seat and say — “Yes! you have to write that story! Your life experience is so perfect to bring THAT story into the world.”
But another thing became equally clear, “giving birth” to an idea can be a very uncomfortable process. It can be a labor. This is because creativity is a growing process, and sometimes it hurts to grow — because we are literally EXPANDING. Getting bigger than we used to be. And sometimes, this creative process can be so tough, so uncomfortable, such new territory, that we stop ourselves. I saw so many people get close to a break through, a brand new draft, an exciting an idea — then quit abruptly.
In one of my favorite books, “The War on Art,” (run, run, run and go get it! Life-Changing Alert!!!) Steven Pressfield talks about Resistance as a force – the thing in us that wants to keep us in our lower nature, instead of our higher nature. It’s Resistance that keeps us small and keeps us from following those inner impulses to create.
But here’s another thing I learned: its also so painful NOT to give birth to the idea within you…because it never goes away…it just gets louder and louder and louder…it wants your attention. Eventually you learn it’s harder to “stay small” then to not take the challenge and commit yourself to your idea.
Then, while I was teaching, the strangest thing happened. Something I didn’t expect at all. This technique emerged. Truly, it just POPPED into existence. In fact, I can remember a Sunday morning…I was just sitting there and then all of the sudden, I was writing down this…process. It was like I was taking dictation…(and I believe that’s how creativity comes in, it comes through us!) and I found it helped ease people’s way through the creative process. It made the labor a little less of a labor.
I also found that it was a tool for me! I got to use the process on my own projects. And then something freaky happened — my life started to change. For real! Life started to break open. Projects got green-lit. It was weird, and I felt like I was in the flow like never before.
So, in honor of the new year, and my shiny new blog, and because I really just have to do it or my soul will explode — I’m sharing this process!
Over the course of the next seven weeks, I’ll be blogging and sharing each of what I call “Seven Steps of Creating.” Honestly, when I write about it, it helps me remember to DO it in my daily life. Literally, by sharing it, I apply it in my own life in a more conscious way, and I become a better creator.
I’m hoping this helps you the way its helped me, and that you find yourself opening up to your ideas — the things that whisper in your ear — and stepping into what you were really meant to give. And when you do that, your life feels lit up from the inside, you have energy, courage, and freedom.
Then the whole game starts changing…