Here is exactly how I came up with my idea for a post that got nearly 300 recommendations, reached thousands of people, and fairly successful post I wrote last week.
Step 1: I grabbed for the coffee early one morning, taking great care to bang one hand on the cabinet door and use the other to wipe sleep out of my eyes.
Step 2: I poured the water into the Keurig and waited.
Step 3: The machine sputtered and coughed, taking longer than usual to pour out the liquid gold.
Step 4: I mumbled “What’s the matter with you?” in a British accent (because my American one was still in bed.)
Step 5: My mind drifted to Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter), who spoke nearly the same words in The Chamber of Secrets.
Step 6: I remembered one of my favorite lines in the movie (“Goyle, I didn’t know you could read!”) was allegedly ad-libbed by the 14-year-old.
Step 7: I thought — “Why do the best things always come from ad-libbing?”
Step 8: I thought — “Everyone should be able to ad-lib”
Step 9: I thought — “I should write a post on ad-libbing.”
Step 10: I pulled my coffee out of the Keurig, smiled, walked upstairs, and started writing.
End Creative Process.
Why am I telling you this?
To point out a few things:
No, I didn’t watch Harry Potter when I was 13 with the hope that one day I would be able to create an article from it.
No, I didn’t keep from buying a new Keurig because the old one days a long time, thus giving my genius brain more time to feed me ideas.
No, I didn’t intentionally combine elements of popular things (Harry Potter, coffee, list-type articles, long-form posts) to create a new piece of content* in hopes you would buy my new book.
*If you pronounce that word out loud sarcastically with a bit of a sneer, that’s exactly how I said it just now
Instead, I write every day with no agenda.
Instead, I Microjournal most days.
Instead, I stop writing when I am tired instead of HUSTLE(!)-ing.
Because here’s the thing about being an artist:
You have permission to consume. You have permission to wait. You have permission to create whatever you want. You have permission to not fit in a box. You have permission to dawdle and drink coffee before 8:00 A.M., secure in the knowledge that even though some have already run 3 miles and slammed a green smoothie, that might not be your path.
Your only mandate is to create art every day. Other than that, live life.
You only have one of those.
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