What will you find in the quiet?
Getting over writers block, over-reliance on digital tools and trusting instincts again.
The Creative Prescription is a newsletter that explores how creativity can improve our well-being and help us live a more mindful life; one that counteracts the ping, dings and distractions of modern-day living.
How does one begin this illusive newsletter when so many life events are going on (more about those in my previous newsletter 018). Without it feeling…well… a little bit…empty?
OK, let’s take inspiration from my drawing practice. When this happens, I tell myself: “Just put your flippin’ pen to paper, Georgie and start drawing!”
In this case, I put my fingers on the keyboard and started writing.
Today it’s actually been an atom closer to being easier to write because this week, I started a daily writing practice here on Substack. It’s a new section called Drawing on Mind Daily.
These daily public musings act not only as a stream of consciousness but also as a way to get over the block I have around writing.
I’ve felt the need to dig deep into the cave of my mind and mine my brain for nuggets of creative gold with a handheld pickaxe rather than outsource so much of it to digital tools, as I have done lately.
Do digital tools make us lazy? Less creative, I wonder?
Turning to ChatGPT to help form my thoughts into coherent sentences feels all too easy. To give me the answers I think I need right now.
Other examples of this digital outsourcing include:
Finding it hard to pinpoint the words I need, I’ve instantly turned to an online thesaurus. Rather than allow the right words to bubble up.
My spelling has become questionable because I’ve allowed auto-correct to do my work.
I’ve all too often turned to a search engine instead of my memory to recall facts, figures and names of actors from my favourite movies.
I’ve even found a distrust for my internal GPS because my phone map confirms the right direction to take, even though I instinctively know a better one.
Exasperated, as I again allowed my Maps app to send me on a path I knew wasn’t the best, I decided this had to stop. (And so what if we don’t know the direction, anyway? Sometimes taking a wrong turn and discovering new places is fun. That’s where the magic can be found.)
I feel it’s the same as we navigate our lives in our digitally augmented physical spaces, too, aka our bodies. We ignore our instincts and too often follow the well-trodden path or track that everyone else is taking (“hello” social media, bitcoin and now the ChatGPT bullet trains) without questioning the consequences of using these shiny new tools and if they are suitable for us and our individual paths.
In the face of recent loss and change in my life, I’m adamant I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to walk in the rough. It’s time to put my complete trust in my internal navigation system.
This system is telling me to write every day. It’s telling me to draw every day In a very analogue way. Pen and paper.
Significantly, this voice of instinct tells me to stop listening to the noise in my head and listen to the silence instead.
The answers aren’t in ChatGPT, map apps and search engines. They reside in silence. The quiet moments. Some of my best decisions lately have come from being quiet.
<cue a brief break in this writing>…<and resume>
Let me tell you what happened in that brief break above.
I turned to a brilliant book I’m reading by Rick Rubin ‘The Creative Act”: A Way of Being”.
Now, I know he advocates meditation and the power of finding answers we seek in quiet moments. So I flicked through the book to find a quote that backs up my previous paragraph about the power of quiet.
Because I wanted you, my dear reader, to believe me. I tried to use the words of someone you might consider more successful and creative than me to prove my point to you.
I didn’t trust myself or believe you would trust me, either.
…there will be no quote here!
Instead, I’m encouraging you to try mining your silence for nuggets of gold.
Tell me, my fellow creative friend, what answers do you find in the quiet?
💫 Inspiration to Draw On
🎙️ Huberman Lab Podcast with Rick Rubin: How to Access Your Creativity
Rick Rubin, one of the most renowned music producers of all time, is known for his work with many artists, including the Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Adele, Johnny Cash, Neil Young and many more. He is also the author of the book "The Creative Act: A Way of Being," which explores the creative process and how to access creativity.
To me, it feels like a creative bible of sorts. It took Rubin 7 years to write and I love that he says in interviews that he forgets much of what he has written within its pages. Much of the information has come from ‘The Source’, which he explains more of in the book.
Enjoy Rubin and Huberman getting into the nitty gritty in this fascinating long-form interview.
🎨 Get Creative
🎵 Music to Move Your Pencil To
I adore this short track from ‘Fantastic Beasts and where to Find Them’. Short, sweet and perfect to take a mini creative meditation to.
✍️ Creative Exercise - Squiggle Birds
I stumbled upon this exercise which is very similar to an exercise I run during workshops called Sqiggle gazing.
This video shows you how easy it can be to make recognisable drawings. It reminds of the phenomenon of pareidolia, the illusion of seeing faces in everyday objects.
By doing this exercise, you’ll discover that very little drawing is actually required to convey an idea. The mind will fill in the rest.
It’s a simple way to learn to draw, as well as let an exercise in letting go of perfectionism in drawing. To simply have some fun with a pencil!
💬 And Finally…A Quote to Live By
It is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to explore at all.
- Ernest Shackleton, Explorer
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