The 12 Days of Creativity… Day 9.

Station 9 is Breakthrough. In this station, you finally watch the new young thing you’ve been gestating take form. Welcoming it into the world restores your confidence in your creative process and brings you through to the end of the Incubation quarter.

The concept that would become this station first occurred to me almost 20 years ago. I was living in Chicago then, beautifully held in the support of a generous creative community, writing and producing TV and film, and studying at the nationally famous Old Town School of Folk Music. I was writing songs!

One night, with a new song just hatched, I couldn’t sleep. I was so excited about this particular weaving of melody, harmony and lyrics that I kept getting up out of bed and going into my studio to read and play it again.

What I felt, in those sleepless hours, was nothing short of love. I felt as if I was going into the nursery to check on my new baby, just because I found him so beautiful. Grace was upon me, with temporary freedom from the self-criticism that usually kept me company.

I realized that night that our creative products are our children, and they are beautiful just for being themselves. We would never call our newborn child ugly; yet we often we judge our creative work very harshly indeed. There is a time in the creative process for criticism and refinement, but it is not here.

For the artist, what breaks through in Station 9 might be the first draft, the rough cut, the sketch or the maquette. For a romantic, it could be the first date. For a scientist, a theoretical equation. For the entrepreneur, it is what the French call the young seedling (la jeune pousse). It is a beginning point in the physical world.

Station 9 is a time of appreciation, as the little green shoot pushes its way through the dark soil into the light of the world or the baby pushes her way out to breathe her first breath. For the creator of anything, it is a time of humility, knowing and taking your place in the creative flow of life.

At Station 9, you are a midwife more than a manufacturer, witnessing and supporting the newborn coming into the world. The Task of Station 9 is to be present. Its reward is Confidence, as finally you come to see that your days or months or years of waiting are bearing fruit.

If you critique your creative newborns too harshly too soon, you will kill them. I call it censorship. It is addictive. Not only does it diminish you; it also diminishes your world and the people in your path who need what you’re creating.

So, ask yourself today a few questions:

  1. Where in your life are you giving birth today?
  2. What does your young seedling look like?
  3. What do you need to appreciate about it just as it is?

See you tomorrow for what to do with this new young thing, in the next station and the final quarter of the Wheel of Creativity.