I love creativity!
The sudden burst of a creative new idea electrifies me.
It’s an orgasmic rush to feel the birth of a new book, or song, or product, or online course.
I love it!
But there are a lot of misconceptions about creativity and being creative.
For one, most people sit around and wait for inspiration to wallop them over the head with an idea.
And they expect the idea to be fully developed and ready for release to the public.
But is that how it actually happens?
When I had my private songwriting lesson in the home of rock icon Melissa Etheridge, she advised, “Never write without being inspired.”
But how do you get inspired?
She went on to explain how she gets inspired.
She walks in nature, reads biographies, reviews songs and poems, and more.
In other words, she invites inspiration.
Jack London was more macho about it.
He said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
Considering he wrote over 50 books, and some (White Fang, The Call of the Wild, Martin Eden) are considered classics of literature, he knew what to do to nail creativity.
I’m a fan of inviting creativity, too.
I read, listen to music, allow my mind to reflect, sit in the hot tub and look at the stars, meditate and more
But here’s the thing no one seems to get.
Receiving creativity is one thing; developing what you receive is another.
For example, I was reading the new book The Creative Curve by Allan Gannett and began to get the idea of writing this post.
My mind was “ignited with an idea” and I let it float through my mind.
But then I went here and started explaining my idea.
I started writing.
In other words, the sudden inspiration for an idea is a birth; but you have to grow and develop the idea into something that you can share.
Melissa Etheridge also told me that after I got an idea for a song, I “get” to develop it with music, melody and more.
She stressed the word “get.”
Some people complain that they have an idea for a book or a business, but now have to do the work to bring it into being.
You don’t “have” to do it, you “get” to do it.
It’s a shift in perspective.
With this very blog post, I’ll probably rewrite it fifteen times, or more.
Because receiving an idea and developing an idea are two different things.
For example, according to Gannett’s book, Paul McCarthy worked on his famous song “Yesterday” for almost two years. (!)
He didn’t just receive inspiration and release a song.
He wrote. Rewrote. Wondered.
Pondered. Worried. Stressed.
And worked some more.
The result is considered a masterpiece.
But it didn’t arrive in his mind as complete and finished.
All he received was the seed.
According to Gannett, “McCartney became obsessed. While he worked on it, the people around McCartney became sick of hearing about his ever-changing song in progress.”
After twenty months of this process, he created what we all know and love as the famous song, “Yesterday.”
Mozart didn’t receive finished music, either.
That’s another fallacy.
He got flashes of ideas and then worked at the keyboard to grind out what worked and didn’t.
I remember reading that the late Leonard Cohen often worked on a single song for ten years.
The shocking truth about creativity is that getting an idea is simple birth; you still have to raise it, much like making a baby is a thrilling explosion of delight, but now you have to change the diapers, feed it, raise it, and send it to school.
If you really want to be creative, you have to invite inspiration, and then go to work.
Take the seed and grow it.
When Daniel Barrett and I wrote the book, The Remembering Process, we wanted to share a new way to invite creative expression and creativity.
But after you receive a vision, or an inkling of what to do, you still have to develop it.
The creative idea isn’t the end.
The creative idea is the beginning.
And that’s where you “get” to be the parent of creativity.
For example, when I stated an intention to create the album, Sun Will Rise, I had to use everything to receive the ideas for each song.
But then I also had to write and rewrite those songs.
And then I had to get my Band of Legends together and record those songs.
And then we had to tweak and improve those songs in the studio.
And then we mixed them, and mastered them.
I didn’t just “get an idea” and quit.
This is the shocking truth about creativity.
Let me give you a maybe more startling example:
Back in 1997 or so I wrote a little booklet called Spiritual Marketing. I wrote it for my sister. I got the idea that maybe I could help her by explaining a process I had learned that took me from homeless to wealth. The little booklet explained a five step formula for attracting wealth. I never promoted it, and I kept it secret; only handing it out among friends and people I met and trusted. One of those friends was Bob Proctor, who convinced me this little booklet was a gem.
I could have stopped there.
A new print-on-demand publisher approached me around 2002 and asked if they could print something of mine. I gave them Spiritual Marketing. But before I did, I rewrote it, expanded it, added more content to it, and developed it into a more mainstream full length book. That book became an Amazon bestseller and was mentioned in a New York Times article.
And I could have stopped there.
Then, around 2005, a major publisher approached me about publishing Spiritual Marketing. But they didn’t like the title. So I changed the title, rewrote the book, added even more content to it, and released it as The Attractor Factor. It was that very book that got me invited to be in what became the hit movie The Secret.
But this evolution of an idea didn’t stop there.
The publisher loved the book but wanted to print a newer, expanded, more workbook oriented edition of it. So I again added to the book, enriched it, added quizzes and worksheets, and saw it published in 2008. That book is still a bestseller today.
Do you see how this process works?
I didn’t receive an idea and stop.
I received it, developed it, and kept developing it.
What I keep preaching is that life is a co-creation.
It’s a dance of energy.
You receive an idea or inspiration.
But it will just sit there unless you take action to breathe it into being.
I’m told I’ve written over 75 books.
I’m told I’ve recorded over 15 albums.
They all began as ideas from being creative, from allowing creativity; but none of them would be available had I take not taken action to create and manifest them.
So, how do you be more creative?
How do you practice creativity?
By inviting inspiration.
And by acting on that inspiration.
Now go forth and blossom.
You have work you “get” to do.
Go do it.
PS — Enjoy!
My latest music video is a six minute behind-the-scenes look at the making of my sixth singer-songwriter album, The Great Something. There are lessons in it about going for your dreams, asking for what you want, hanging in there, and more. You’ll meet my band of legends, hear a little of my new music, discover the unusual creative process that helped me write songs, etc. You’ll also find me talking about the person I dedicated the new album to: rock icon Melissa Etheridge. I’m proud of this new music video. I hope it inspires you, too. Here it is:
You can achieve great things when someone believes in you.
I know this first hand.
Daniel Barret, my music producer, coauthor of The Remembering Process, and friend, urged me to create an album of all saxophone music before I felt ready to do so.
I even argued with him about it.
“You have a two year old son,” I began. “Getting me to record sax music right now is like my offering to train your son for the Olympics. He’s not ready. I’m not ready.”
But Daniel persisted.
“You have a supernatural connection to the sax,” he said. “Every time I hear you play, I feel the power of it.”
Keep in mind that I had heard a baritone saxophone for the first time last January, when Thomas van der Brook came into the studio to add his bari sax to a track on my Reflection album.
I loved it.
I decided right then to buy a sax and learn how to play.
I did, too.
But that was only months ago.
I had a couple lessons to learn how to put the sax together, watched some YouTube videos on how to play the sax, bought 17 books on the sax, and a DVD course, and just kept trying.
Every week or so, I’d record my playing and send it to Daniel.
I was simply sharing.
But he used it as evidence.
He felt I was ready to record.
After a few months – and with Daniel’s polite but persistent encouragement – I took the jump.
I realized I had been arguing for my limitations.
Enough of that.
I agreed to create an album of all sax music.
That was a HUGE, BOLD, and SCARY move.
I didn’t feel confident.
I didn’t feel ready.
Yet I knew that one of the best ways to learn something is to simply dive in and create a project out of it. Recording an album of sax music would put me in a situation where I had to learn how to play, and fast.
I also knew that as soon as I stated an intention, and invited inspiration, that the Universe would rush in to help me.
And so the adventure began.
It helped that sax great Mindi Abair heard me play (during a Skype sax lesson with her) and said, “You have real talent.”
It helped that I went in the studio with Mathew Dixon and added some bari sax to the first track of our album, Invoking Divinity, which came out hauntingly beautiful.
But that wasn’t a whole album of sax music.
I still remember the first day in the studio with Daniel.
As he set up the mike, and I put together the mouthpiece and reed on my baritone sax, he looked at me and said, “On one level this is an insane thing to do, but let’s do it and see what occurs.”
I played the baritone, tenor, and alto saxophones.
Daniel mixed the music and added some tasty sounds.
I wrote and recorded some hypnotic odes, or prayers.
We ended up with ten tracks – the first five with the poems at an audible level, and the second five with the prayers at a subliminal, or below conscious, level.
I decided to call the album Afflatus, which means, “sudden Divine inspiration.”
And the album is done.
The miracle is complete.
When Mark Hallman, who mastered the album, heard it, he said, “This is the best music you’ve recorded yet. A masterpiece.”
When Mathew Dixon, my partner on several albums, heard it, he said, “It sounds fantastic! I just finished listening and it sounds incredible!”
I’m about as proud as any musician could be.
I’ll be selling the album in 2015 but I’ll be giving it away — yes, you read it right: giving it away for free — in December, as part of my birthday/end of year sale. (I’ll give you details later, of course.)
But I wanted to share this adventure with you today for the lesson it reveals.
It all started with someone who believed in me more than I believed in myself.
With encouragement, you can achieve virtually anything you can conceive.
What’s your dream?
I believe in you.
Go for it!
PS — If you want someone who believes in you, check out Miracles Coaching.
“It’s easier to remember than it is to create.”
Daniel Barrett told me that when I was struggling with writing my first songs.
I didn’t get it.
“Your future already contains the songs,” he explained. “All you need to do is remember them.”
It took me a while to grasp the fact that Daniel was on to something colossal.
As a result of working with his “Remembering Process,” I recorded my first album in record time, and six more albums after that.
Today I have seven albums for sale (seven!), and they all were more or less “remembered” into being.
Daniel and I also wrote a book to explain his process, which Hay House just published and is for sale today as a printed hardcover, Kindle ebook, or audio book.
It’s called, of course, The Remembering Process.
This elegant, mind stretching tool can help you leave boundaries and assumptions and tap into a greater source of creativity.
When I spoke about the process a few years ago, Jack Canfield, Gay Hendricks and other thought leaders and self-help authors stood and applauded.
It doesn’t matter what you need to solve, resolve, create or produce.
You can make life easier by remembering rather than creating.
I even used the method itself to write a song about the method.
It’s called “Remember” and it’s on my most recent album, Reflection.
It features a hypnotic poem, my voice, and a kundalini moving baritone saxophone.
Again, Daniel’s process is about letting go to something that already exists.
When I was in one of the many Bill Phillips fitness camps I attended, Bill asked me to describe the process to the group.
He knew that contemplating your “future self” as a person who has already accomplished what you presently struggle with, would be an easy way to tap into that future self’s answers.
You can use the future to solve the present.
Think about it.
That future you already knows the answers, because he/she already resolved the issues.
After all, he/she’s in your future, where your current issue has been resolved and is now your past.
You can do this for anything.
When Daniel and I sat in the studio and wondered what a CD cover would look like, we didn’t try to create one, we just played and wondered what it looked like from the future’s perspective.
We did our best to “remember” the cover.
I know this is a lot to grasp, and an entirely new concept to enjoy, but for more details, go get the book.
I remember you bought copies for friends, and shared it with many.
PS – Here is my presentation on The Remembering Process from 2012:
You may remember that Daniel Barrett and I are coming out with a book tilted The Remembering Process (Hay House, Feb. 2013). It’s the first ever description of a breakthrough new creativity method for stretching your mind and altering time. It’s an advanced Law of Attraction technique. Recently I gave my first presentation ever on the subject, to my peers in the Transformational Leadership Council. You can watch the entire 45 minute talk right here. (It ends with a track from my new music album, The Healing Song.) I remember you loved it… 🙂