avril 2020
Expert Author Sarah Schwab
When it comes to creating something, are you a planner or an improviser?
In my work, I've started to distinguish between different creative approaches. Some people are much more comfortable with a well-planned and thought out process. Certain projects or situations necessitate this kind of approach.
Other people and circumstances call for a more spontaneous experience of the creative process. Its about allowing ideas and expressions to flow through you in the moment.
Stage vs. Street
One of my guilty pleasures is watching So You Think You Can Dance. As a dancer-at-heart, I live vicariously through the amazing people on the show. I love watching them overcome their fear and give it their all.
This season, the show has split the contestants into two groups: Stage vs. Street.
What I noticed is that the stage dancers are more on the planned side of creativity. They rehearse their routines, knowing every move in advance. They are used to learning choreography, and what they are able to produce is incredible.
The street dancers are more on the spontaneous side of creativity. They often hit the dance floor with no real idea of what is going to come out. They know their style and their core moves, but they are truly in the moment, creating something new in front of an audience... and a tv camera! That experience has it's own power, even beyond the actual dance moves.
When it came time for the street dancers to learn choreography, many of them struggled. They had never planned their dancing before, not to mention having to learn someone else's steps.
But I would imagine that if the stage dancers were made to improvise something with no preparation, many of them would struggle as well.
It's a continuum
You see, the spontaneity of creativity is a continuum. Okay, that's a lot of big words, but here's what I mean.
Very rarely is something completely spontaneous or completely planned. There are elements of both.
A speaker who has outlined his talk goes on the stage with a plan, but doesn't know the exact words that will come out of his mouth.
Another speaker may have written their entire speech out, choosing to read it from a podium.
Those two approaches are at different points on the continuum. They also feel different to the audience.
We React Differently
Planned creativity is often more polished. It strives for perfection. Although we all know that there is no such thing!
Experiencing a highly planned demonstration of creativity can cause the audience to be amazed by the artistry, the ideas, and the talent that is displayed. It also allows the audience to think critically about it, knowing each piece was carefully chosen.
Spontaneous creativity provides a unique experience that will only happen once, and as observers we react to it differently.
In watching an act of spontaneous creativity, we are drawn in not by the attempt to approach perfection, but by the uncertainty of watching the creative process unfold. The vulnerability of the creator brings out our empathy and we want to support them. We are less likely to judge the outcome. Instead we simply enjoy the moment.
Expert Author Sarah Schwab
"Art is when a human being does something for the first time." - Seth Godin
"The point is not to do something that's never been done before, but something you've never done before." - Liz Gilbert
These two quotes are both from people I highly respect and admire. I came across them in completely different places. But, together, I think they bring up a very important question.
In Seth Godin's view, art and creation is that moment when something completely new happens for the first time ever. That thing had never been done or thought before in the history of the world.
While it may not be clear from the quote that that's what he meant, he went on in his talk to describe it. He highlighted new inventions and concepts that transform the world and change how things are done.
Granted, those are amazing and important moments of creativity and inspiration.
But it also somehow makes creativity or art feel inaccessible. "How can I think of something brand new? Everything has been thought of already!"
It's a tall order.
Those moments of genius that change the world are rare.
Or are they?
Meanwhile, Liz Gilbert has chosen to focus on the individual experience of creativity.
Just because something has been done before doesn't diminish the fact that it is an act of courage and growth when you do it for the first time.
Plus, you are likely to do it differently than anyone else. You bring your own voice and experience and personality to it. No one has ever done it before quite like that!
Like Liz, I believe that creativity is for the masses. It is about the daily practice to show up and change and grow.
Then, again, maybe there is room for both. Even for you, and me!
We should certainly allow ourselves... no, challenge ourselves... to try new things, and grow and create throughout our lives.
In that process we will have an awful lot of thoughts!
Have you ever had the experience of second guessing your own new ideas? There is a voice that says, "Someone else probably already thought of that."
And sometimes, it's true.
Expert Author Sarah Schwab
Everyone has a different approach to creative projects. I've worked with a lot of clients, and there isn't a one-size-fits all solution to getting it done. Some people are great with structure and planning while others are okay with a more seat-of-your pants approach.
It isn't about being right or wrong. There are pros and cons to each of these approaches. It's just important to recognize which approach is the best fit for you so you can plan accordingly.
Regulars
Some folks get into a content creation practice, and show up for it on a regular basis. That could be every day, every few days, or maybe once a week. These people are committed to putting out content consistently, and it becomes part of their routine.
Deadline Meeters
For this group of people, the idea of creating content every single week (or more!) is overwhelming. They understand the importance of content creation, but aren't always able to prioritize it when there are so many other things to do. But, give them a deadline and a little accountability, and they will get it done. Usually just in time!
This approach requires a little planning in order to set manageable deadlines that make sense.
Batchers
There is another group of highly organized people who like to block out time to create a lot of content at once. Then they can take a break from creating while they drip that content out into the world. That way, they have an intense period of content creation once every 4-12 weeks or so. This works well when there are more people involved in the production process, and requires a lot of advanced planning and scheduling.
Don't wait for "inspiration"
It is tempting to wait to create content until you feel inspired. Wouldn't it be great if you could get into the flow, and let creativity and content come through you with ease?
It doesn't work that way.
If creating content is dependent on your mood, or your level of inspiration, you will find it difficult to stay consistent. (And consistency is key!)
Those who are successful at creating content on a consistent basis employ these methods to help them stay on track. Either with a regular habit, set deadlines, or a batching schedule, as well as a system for accountability.
Creative inspiration happens within the process, not as a prerequisite.
Part of what I do with clients is to identify the best content creation approach for them, and help keep them accountable to it. It sounds boring on the face of it, but it's what allows the magic to unfold.
Expert Author Linda Hancock
I have a very interesting client who shared his theory of addiction with me. He stated that he and others use drugs because they are bored. This thought has caused me to think about some of my other clients who have come for treatment because of alcohol, gambling or pornography issues. Although there isn't just one specific reason for an addiction to start, I think that perhaps boredom can be a factor for many people.
A January 24, 2017 article by Emma Young of "Mosaic" that was posted online is headlined "Iceland Knows How to Stop Teen Substance Abuse but the Rest of the World isn't listening".
Ms. Young states: "Today, Iceland tops the European table for the cleanest-living teens. The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 per cent in 1998 to 5 per cent in 2016. The percentage who have ever used cannabis is down from 17 per cent to 7 per cent. Those smoking cigarettes every day fell from 23 per cent to just 3 per cent."
The Icelandic model which is radical and evidence-based uses what is termed enforced common-sense:
1. Knowledge - The leaders acknowledge and teach the fact that others often abuse drugs because of their style of coping. Heroine numbs and amphetamines confront. They want to change their brain chemistry and consciousness so turn to substances to accomplish that.
2. Options - Denver's Project Self-Discovery program also has created interesting programs. They did not offer to treat addictions but told teens that they would teach them anything that they wanted to learn (music, dance, hip-hop, art, martial arts). The classes changed the brain chemistry, helped teens to cope better, reduced anxiety and gave participants life-skills that improved self-esteem and relationships.
3. A National Plan - Youth in Iceland was set up by municipalities. Ongoing surveys monitored problems in the country before and during the program. Laws were changed to alter tobacco and alcohol age limits as well as banning advertising for these substances. All schools were required to set up parent-school organizations where education for parenting was provided.
4. Curfews - A law was passed that all children between the ages of 13 and 16 must be indoors by 10 pm in winter and midnight in summer.
5. Parenting Agreements were prepared - Parents agreed to follow recommendations for different age groups that strengthened their authority and provided limits such as no unsupervised parties or purchase of alcohol for minors. Parents were also encouraged to "keep an eye" on other children in the community.
6. Increase in state funding - Opportunities were provided for all children to be involved in organized activities so they would be part of the group no matter what their family's economic status might be.
7. Family Time - In fifteen years, the surveys revealed that the number of 15 and 16 year olds who were spending more time on weekends with family doubled while cigarette, cannabis and alcohol use plummeted.
Municipalities in Europe have enjoyed success with this model that has even extended into a drop in suicides and reduction of crime by teenagers. There isn't, however, any national program anywhere in Europe or North America. The head of the Youth in Europe program, Jon Sigfusson, apparently will provide consultation for communities who are interesting in learning about and/or implementing the model.
I have just been wondering why other cities and communities haven't looked into this program. Seems like everyone would benefit from the benefits of psychological and physical well-being to children, reduced healthcare costs and fewer problems for society in general.
Expert Author Linda Hancock
No one likes to hear that they have an addiction. Sometimes their use of a substance or process addiction develops so subtly that one doesn't even recognize what is occurring until consequences set in.
There is a powerful line in the song "Slow Fade" by Casting Crowns that claims "People Never Crumble in a Day". Your see choices over time lead to problems.
Following are some of the things that can help you to assess your situation:
1. Secrets - When you are trying to hide the things that you are doing from other people, then you are probably up to no good. It doesn't matter if it is using pornography, drinking alcohol, shoplifting, having an affair or stealing - these things all take a toll at some point.
2. Lying - Telling one lie means that you have to tell another to cover it up and then another to cover that one up. Eventually you forget what the first lie was and then you are busted.
3. Contacts - We become like our surroundings. When the people in our lives have substance or process addictions, we are setting ourselves up for addictions. If you think that your group of friends don't drink too much, try being the sober one in the room and see if your initial assessment changes.
4. Opinions - When other people are confronting you about things you are doing, don't ignore them. Having someone share their concerns is likely more about caring than about nagging.
5. Focus - Where to you invest your time, energy and thoughts? If you are feeling obsessed about something, perhaps you are in or on the edge of trouble.
6. Responsibilities - Are you neglecting things that you value? Perhaps you are not paying your bills on time, doing a good job at work or being there for your family. Letting things slip allows others to lose their trust in your word.
7. Health - Hang overs, feeling poorly or noticing physical problems that you didn't previously experience are warning signs designed to get your attention. Taking more sick time from work is a good indication of problems. I am amazed at how many people eat nutritiously, exercise and then ingest alcohol which is a poison or illicit drugs that are not regulated.
8. Finances -Get honest with yourself about how much you are spending on your "habit". For one month, write down every cent that is going towards substances or activities that can be or are addictive for you. You might be very surprised about how much addictions are stealing from bank account.
9. Fear - If you are worried that you might get caught by police for your actions, you have crossed a serious line. Those in safety sensitive positions who have a positive drug or alcohol test can lose their jobs, reputation, self-respect as well as thousands of dollars in lost wages. Think of it this way. Are you afraid of what your child or grandchild would think of your choices?
10. Shame - Guilt means that you think you have made a mistake. Shame means that you think you are a mistake. Addictions are deceitful because they offer short-term gain in exchange for pain, embarrassment and self-flagellation. You don't have to be ashamed of yourself anymore.
If you find that there are things on this list that ring true for you, don't despair. There are professionals and resources available to help you. You can invest in yourself today by simply booking an appointment with someone who will help you develop strategies for a better future.