What my Book Tour Taught me about Creativity
“Life is what happens to you
while you’re busy making other plans.”
– John Lennon
When I arrived in Houston, Texas on April 23, I had an idea about where my ‘little book tour’ was going to take me, but I had only glimpsed what would happen in each place. Here are the highlights:
When I began the trip, I thought I knew what I wanted to achieve, and an even bigger idea about what I should do, what had to happen, what would be required for my book tour to be considered successful.
I also had judgments (still do sometimes) about what it means to do a good job, how much work is enough, and what I have to do before I allow myself to relax.
And then, there is my longtime love affair with numbers: how many people sign up for things, how much money I make on an event v how much it costs me to produce it, how many books I sell, and how fast I sell them. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in being effective. But the obsession with shoulds, have to’s, judgments and numbers does not produce it.
When I stack all the things I believed were required for success on that 10-week trip against the things that actually happened, I’m delighted that things turned out the way they did. Every time I got off a plane or rented a car or drove into town, each new city I visited taught me a little more about how to create what’s next from what’s happening now:
- Clarify your goals and outline your vision.
- Do your homework and make a plan.
- Allocate a reasonable amount of time to making that plan successful.
- Recognize some things will not “work out” and respond to them deliberately.
- Keep an eye out for spontaneous opportunities… and take them.
- Show up, be present with all you are.
- Let go of the outcomes.
- Rinse and repeat.
Some of the most exciting moments of the creative process occur in the spaces made when things don’t work out, when your plans go awry, when you run out of possibilities. That’s where innovation occurs. That’s where the little (and big) miracles grow.
And you? Whatcha got goin’ there? What’s it teaching you?