Rehearse Before You Create

On Tuesday, I spoke to a group of creatives in Nashville (Twitter Stream).  One point that stuck with them was this simple thought, a quote from fellow creative David Lynch: “It takes four hours to get one hour of creative work done.” 

After my talk, a great deal of the Q/A explored that mind blowing observation.  Why does it take so long, distraction? Nope.  Editing?  Nope, that’s not part of creation.  

I recollected my application of this idea when writing Today We Are Rich.  After studying Lynch, I discovered one of his secret weapons: Rehearsing the act of creating. 

So, before I would start a writing session, I would go outside and putt the ball around the side yard – and rehearse writing.  I would speak it out loud (I’d outlined it prior), record it on my phone, then listen to my rehearsal on playback.  Then I delete it.  At some point, I’d visualized or audiblized it enough, then I’d drop my putter, run down to the studio and furiously type for an hour.  And 3000 words were born.  (I wrote Feed Your Mind Good Stuff in less than two hours, read it and see how it isn’t over-edited or stilted.) 

Here’s the takeaway.  You can’t schedule time to be creative.  That’s like scheduling time with your partner for sex.  It’s an in-the-moment experience.  If you sit down to ‘wham it out’, you’ll end up polishing a turd.  You’ll spew, edit, delete, fix, re-edit and sqeeze the life out of your ‘baby.’ 

Most of us reserve rehearsal for life’s big performances, but think about it: Creating is the ultimate performance and shouldn’t be taken for granted.  Creativity is a burst of structured insanity, followed by a factory-line set of steps to deliver it to its intended target.  If you rehearse, even in your mind, what you are about to create, you’ll likely induce that moment of birth.  See the photo shoot before doing it.  Visualize the Power Point or Photoshop session before sitting down to do it. Do the work!