I’m finally making time to write on Medium. I joined when the platform first started but have been slow to come over and indulge. Lately I’ve explored and enjoyed content, yet only now am I writing based on a prompt from Paul Jarvis and Death to the Stock Photo. I love being a creator but honestly I’ve had a hard time deciding to be a writer. I’ve written in almost every way as a business writer. Now I’m writing my first book which is to be published in March 2016 — my 2nd divorcesary. I have stories to tell and now’s the time to tell this one particularly for the people who constantly ask me
“How do you remain so calm with all that you do/have been through?”
I’m going to give a peek into my life with this one.
But for now, I’m sharing how I find inspiration and space to create. I’m inspired by so much, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship. I see entrepreneurship in EVERYTHING… I feel like Neo seeing code when no one else sees it. But this isn’t an article on entrepreneurship… or is it??
Basking in Memories
A beloved high school Honors English teacher left a note in my yearbook expressing her sorrow that I was going into STEM instead of writing. She viewed me as a natural writer and hoped I would explore that gift. I really should have talked to her more. She was onto something. I get some of my best creative inspiration when I revisit the past. It could be to share lessons learned from mistakes or create solutions for childhood frustrations. It was during an extended stay in St. Louis over a decade ago that I realized entrepreneurship was the cure for community wealth-building and decided that I wanted to do something about it. About a year later, I was in business school! Visiting old stomping grounds, talking to lifelong friends, sharing life with family, and reviewing old work are just some ways of sparking creativity.
"Haven't been down here in forever! #stlouis"www.instagram.com
When I take time to refresh my bones — whether in a shower, a dream or on a vacation — I find inspiration. Simply going to sleep can be the best way to create solutions for whatever problem I need to solve. I’m someone who learned to keep a notebook next to my bed so I can jot down my amazing dreams, especially the recurring ones! I actually have notebooks everywhere — it’s a bit of a problem. Anyway, by letting my brain take a step back from whatever issue I’m tackling, my creativity soars. One day I’ll get my meditation life in order and will really take off.
"I #hope my nephew knows I #love him. His #cousins adore him. Our #family is strengthened when we spend time together…www.instagram.com
2015 was the first year for me to run in races. I was determined to adopt a fitness lifestyle and what better way to do that than to train for some foot races, right? So by October 2015, I ran in three races including my first half-marathon. The training it took for that involved o’dark hour outdoor runs and the most running I’ve ever done in my life. After every run, I would read my Bible for morning devotion and instantly gleaned lessons to apply to my business or life. I shared many of them in my Instagram account just because it felt right to do even though I didn’t join Instagram (just this year) to share that type of content. I was inspired to create through making my blood pump faster and quickly shared what came to mind. This has happened with most* of the other forms of exercise in which I’ve indulged — zumba, wii fit, crossfit, aerobics, yoga, pilates... I even played rec kickball this year. This year had more creativity by me simply from being more consistent in working out with running — my favorite exercise this year!
"First half-marathon ✔️ Great course @bullcityrace! Thanks for running with me @surefire16!! I'm ready for the next one…www.instagram.com
One thing I’ve consistently embraced in 2015 is the art of being present and it has paid off in the creativity department. Silencing outside chatter to simply focus on whatever I’m doing right then or whomever I’m engaging with has been excellent practice for doing the same in my business, writing, and whatever I’m creating. Since I was more intentional with being present this year versus previous years, I know I was deeply inspired in the following:
- Conversations with my children, other family members, and friends all motivated different forms of introspection and creativity in my life
- Experiences with my family and circle, including traveling and partying, allowed for space to thoroughly enjoy a few moments and leave inspired to create
- Worship of God through reading the Bible, spending time with other Christians, going to church, and doing the work God has called me to do typically ignited creativity — whenever I made it to church I typically quickly experienced inspiration, pulled out my phone and took notes on ideas for one of my business projects in the middle of a sermon
- Content of all types: watching good and bad movies and TV; reading or listening to awesome books; engaging with the latest Scope, Tweet, FB Post or favorite blog post all provided food for thought in how it related to my life, business and others I interacted with. Though I took in less media content this year than in previous years, I feel like I got more out of it. It wasn’t as mindless as before. My BEST inspiration of the year was from a webinar in August 2015 —
“Women need to stop waiting for permission.” — Tamiko Cuellar, CEO of Pursue Your Purpose.
This one statement snowballed into inspiring many other women in my life since I shared it with many of them and then in the lives of their circles because they too shared the message. I even found a related scripture (Jeremiah 17:5–8), and expounded and shared on Instagram too (though I’ve expanded to include verses 7–8 in my affirmations).
"Stop seeking validation from people or permission to do what God has already called. "This is what the Lord says:…www.instagram.com
Just Do It
There are so many ways to be inspired but we can’t stop there. When we make room to create, the magic really happens. We have to do just that though — make room.
I say this as a reformed procrastination queen! I have let distractions get in the way of creating and sharing what I know I’m made to create. Even if I get it released, but was slow in releasing (like responding to this writing prompt two weeks after I received it), I’m doing a disservice to myself and to others.
Especially when the content still lives inside of me instead of getting out where it is supposed to be.
Especially when I speak to someone and they needed something I have but either I haven’t gotten it out of me yet or I haven’t shared with enough people.
That’s not how I’m going to live going forward. I have all the tools, I have to just do it… we have to just do it!
My Recommendations For Making Space to Create
- Own a smartphone. Best invention ever!
- Download apps that facilitate creating and publishing content — Wordpress, Medium, Google Docs, Evernote, Pocket, all social media sites and so many others can help you quickly create, publish, and share content on various platforms in minutes for free. Seriously with tools like Periscope, your video content can be shared with the world immediately.
- Keep notebooks around you or take notes on your smartphone to get your ideas out of your brain and ready to publish.
- Make room to create wherever you are — in your car during carpool, while waiting in line at the grocery store, right after a workout. Just block out the distractions and go.
- Limit the amount of content you take in. When you are constantly reading, watching or listening to everyone else’s content, it takes away from time you could be creating and sharing your own content. I strongly recommend this if you are increasingly disappointed with the content you expose yourself to… it’s past time for you to create what you want to read, see or listen to.
- For longer term projects, take some time to think of obstacles that may come your way in completing the project and write down the ways you will mitigate them.
- Do something every day to add to your gifts for the world. Record daily, even if it’s for 10 minutes at a time — text, video and/or audio.
After creation, it’s on us to share, share and share some more. People may not see it the first or second time so we have to keep sharing. Just because we build it, does not mean those who need it will automatically get it. This is one more remedial lesson that has been imprinted in me this year.
*That one attempt with Insanity provided little inspiration though I did have a good radio interview that day.