Last Monday, we discussed transforming negativity into positive, creative energy.  We looked at how to use our creativity to escape the world’s negativity and explored a different perspective on writer’s block.

Today, we’ll continue to explore a few more concepts from the book The Tao of Pooh.

Simplicity and Creativity

The creative process works best when we turn off the critical part of our brain and allow thoughts and ideas to flow freely.  This taps into the concept from the book about The Uncarved Block.  The author states, “The essence of the principle of The Uncarved Block is that things in their original simplicity contain their own natural power” (10).  

Brainstorming and creating a new story, work of art, or dance is best achieved when we go back to basics and create for the sake of creating.  This is a time of fun, experimenting, and freedom since we are giving ourselves the power to create.

By giving our creativity complete control, we can keep negative thoughts and doubts away from the process.

Easier said than done. 

The Evil Scourges of Overthinking & Ego

There’s a second part to the quote above: “The essence of the principle of The Uncarved Block is that things in their original simplicity contain their own natural power, power that is easily spoiled and lost when the simplicity is changed” (10).  And what can alter that simplicity and affect our power to create?

Overthinking.

Yes, overthinking can cause a fun and energized creative event to grow sluggish, frustrating, and even stop altogether.  This barrier can very effectively cause a person’s creative process to be “spoiled or lost” thanks to its intrusion into their minds.  

This scourge can come in the form of second-guessing oneself or doubts, but it can also be caused by one’s pride or ego.  It’s okay to be proud of your work, but being narcissistic can blind you to feedback and ways to make your work better.

Both have no place in the creative process.  While I’m sure most of us aren’t arrogant or egotistical about our work, many of us overthink ourselves into creative paralysis.  

Fighting Back

When in doubt, write it out.  It’s a silly rhyme, but it does help to write through your thoughts and feelings to push through the overthinking blockade.  What’s causing you to overthink?  Where in the creative process does the overthinking popup?  

You could have an Overthinking Journal where you sit and write down your counterproductive overthinking thoughts; then, you can jump back into the creative process.  Give yourself 15 minutes to get it all out on paper, then move on.

Heck, make it symbolic and write your thoughts down, then rip up the paper or shred it.  This physical act of destroying your overthinking may do wonders to get you back on track and show yourself that you have the power in this situation.

This links to another point made in The Tao of Pooh: “When you discard arrogance, complexity, and a few other things that get in the way, sooner or later you will discover that simple, childlike, and mysterious secret known to those of the Uncarved Block: Life is Fun” (20).  By taking the time to productively eliminate the negative things preventing you from being creative, you’ll quickly discover that the process is fun and enjoyable (which it should be).

Getting Back to Basics

The creative process can be complicated, and that’s okay.  Once you get into the heart and soul of what you’re creating, you’ll want to be more mindful of the final product.  

But initially, you want your imagination and creativity to be free, untethered to run wherever your thoughts and ideas wish to take you.  Not all ideas may work, but you’re not concerned about that at this stage.  Your goal at this stage is to enjoy the process.

“From the state of the Uncarved Block comes the ability to enjoy the simple and the quiet, the natural and the plain.  Along with that comes the ability to do things spontaneously and have them work, odd as that may appear to others at times” (21).  The creative mind is a mysterious and powerful entity.  Left to its own devices, it can deliver stories, works of art, or choreography that elevate an artist’s skill and confidence in their craft. 

It all starts by stripping away the negative, the critical, the egotistical, and the overthinking and just allowing yourself to create and be in that basic space.

This week, give yourself permission to create.  No barriers.  No restrictions.  No censoring.  Just creation.  You’ll be amazed at what happens.

Happy Creating, and I’ll see you next Monday!

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