Feeling stuck? Bogged down? Pop that boil, let it out, create.
Sorry about the boil imagery there, but can you feel it?
That’s how creativity gets stuck inside of us.
Or rather, dare I go out on a limb to say, how “stuff” gets stuck in us and how letting it out is key.
We consume. Lots. No, like way tons all the time. We watch, we listen, we read. It’s all coming in.
Where and when and how do we let it out?
I am nowhere near a medical doctor, but I like the boil (or the cyst or pimple or zit) metaphor. It’s this nasty thing that’s going to hurt a little to pop, but the relief we’ll feel when it’s open is worth it. So worth it.
You know the feeling. Let’s see if I can bring it home for you with other bodily yuck:
- Stuck in your teeth: for me, it’s usually those little shells around the popcorn kernel. When I get that out, I’m ready to donate my life savings to charity in gratitude. It’s that much relief.
- Splinters: wasn’t it a little mouse who removed the splinters from the lion? Although the lion is (was!) mighty and the king of the jungle, a little thorn was killing him. Relieving his pain, done by a tiny mouse, set him free.
- Vomit party: OK, I completely realize I’m deep in the gross-out mode but it’s working. You ate and/or drank the wrong something. It’s not sitting right. You could wait it out. Or your body doesn’t wait. It wants it out of you. Now. Blech! Vloooom! Blaaaaah! Nasty, icky, but out of you and gone and you’re a new person.
Our thoughts and ideas and creativity and imagination work in much the same fashion. If we just keep cramming it all in, it’s going to get full, overloaded, even sick.
We can let it out on a regular basis, or we can wait until we’re ready to, yeah, sorry, puke our guts out.
My Non-Medical Cure
Let it out. Set it free. A little bit on a regular basis. How often? Daily seems to be the best schedule. Why? Because it’s easy to remember.
Did you know that prescriptions that are prescribed as “bi-weekly” or even “every other day” get forgotten? Why? Because we can’t remember when we last took it.
With the daily Pimple Popping Party, it’s easy: it’s today.
Here’s a quick test:
- Have you popped your creative pimple today? (Yes / No)
- Yes? Great! You’re all set. Done for the day.
Woo hoo! Celebration time.
- No? Get it done. When? Now is good. But before 11:59 PM.
How or What to Create
I hear you. I hear many of you whispering:
But Bradley, I don’t know how or what to create! How can I prevent my enormous white-tipped zit from exploding into my latté?You
I’m a writer. For me, it’s easy: just start writing. On a napkin with a pen borrowed from the waitress. Typing into a laptop. Even dictating to Siri.
Just a little. Just until it’s out. Might be 5 minutes. Might be 50 minutes. Doesn’t matter. You’ll feel it. Like when you’re ready to wipe your mouth off of spittle. You just know.
If writing isn’t your thing, how else can you let it out? Let us count the ways.
- Dictate: speak it into your phone. I bet your phone has a recording app built in. Pretend it’s a letter to your late grandmother (who you loved, right?). Or talk to your future daughter. Let her know what’s stuck inside of you right now. Take 2 minutes. Might be all you need.
- Move: run, walk, hike, go up (and down) the stairs. Don’t listen to a podcast, don’t think about work. Focus on your legs moving, your feet one in front of the other. Talk to yourself. Out loud if there’s no one around and/or if you’re comfortable with it. Get out of breath at least a little so you have to focus on your breathing (you know, to stay alive and all). Then what’s your next thought? Focus on that one. Got it? Good, done for the day.
- Draw: I’m a terrible drawer. See, I bet drawer isn’t even a word. No, it’s a word, it’s a thing you put socks into. (Focus!) If you’re at the stick figure level or you can paint a gorgeous landscape, put pencil to paper and doodle your thoughts. What does it look like in your brain? What wants to get out?
What do you do to let it out? We take so much in, how do we let it out? What works for you?