So you’ve seen the name of this blog and maybe it sparked your interest – but you might still be wondering if being a clear-minded creative is even possible. Isn’t it a contradiction in terms?

After all, aren’t most creative people the opposite of clear-minded, with so many thoughts going round their heads they feel as if they might explode? Aren’t creative people spontaneous, confused and more often than not intoxicated?

It’s on the tip of my tongue..

I can’t deny that confusion, spontaneity and occasional hedonism are often part and parcel of a creative life. However there are great benefits to getting as clear-minded as possible if you want to really achieve something remarkable.

You know when you have the name of something on the “tip of your tongue” but no matter how hard you try you can’t think of it? Then ten minutes or an hour later, when you’re involved in something else entirely, it suddenly comes to you out of the blue?

Inspiration is like that – it needs space to grow, just like you need to make time to practice if you want to get better at a creative skill. The more clear-minded you are, the more access you have to that mysterious input.

Becoming a clear-minded creative takes a lot of hard work and determination. It begins with learning about yourself and making changes where needed. It involves setting up habits and systems that help you achieve as much as possible. And it involves continuous awareness.

Read on for three simple questions that are difficult to answer but key to being a clear-minded creative:

1. Knowing Who You Really Are

Whilst we tend to make pretty quick judgements about who other people are, sometimes after spending only minutes in their company, really knowing ourselves is a much harder task. All sorts of things conspire to cloud our vision of who we really are, such as low self-esteem/lack of confidence, bad experiences, other people’s opinions and negative self-beliefs.

The fact is that every single one of us is different and has what personal development gurus like to call “a unique gift” to give to the world. But society expects us all to conform to the same lifestyle and values – no wonder so many of us are dissatisfied with our jobs and lifestyles.

2. Knowing Exactly What You Want

It’s taken me 33 years to even get close to knowing what I want out of life, and I’ve got the feeling in a year’s time it will be different again. Some people of course know from an early age what they want but I suspect they are the lucky few.

Creative people usually work out what they want through trial and error, or experimentation, and so being flexible is important. However you can also learn to recognise patterns and mainstays which show you where your real passion lies.

3. Knowing How to Get It

When I was younger I thought it would be easy to become a successful writer – all I had to do was write a novel and the rest would follow. I took several months off work to get it written but was never able to finish the task – mainly because I didn’t have a clear idea of what my story was, or the self-discipline to write every day without fail.

As I got older I realised that whilst producing something creative was a great achievement, it’s only the beginning of the story. You have to get creative about how you present and market yourself, how you build relationships with other people, and how you organise your time and lifestyle.

However you can quickly learn this by watching other people who have already been successful at what you want to do. Now imitating someone else will never impress anyone, but as long as it fits with your own thing, you can use the techniques and strategies they’ve used to create similar results.

Working Out These Things is What This Blog is About

The aim of this blog is delve a little deeper into each of these areas and share what I’ve learnt and continue to learn about these topics.

I’ll also be writing about all the books and other resources that I’ve found useful over the years and as I’m discovering new things on this topic every day I won’t be short of things to write about. Plus there are some great interviews coming up with some truly talented ‘clear-minded creative types’.

What Do You Think?

Do you worry that by examining this in too much detail it will interfere with the mysterious process of creativity? Or are you ready to try a new approach? I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below!

Image: Self-Portrait, by chefranden

11 Comments

  1. I think sometimes it’s hard for us to chose what we want. But when we do. We live in the top 3 percent of people in our society who make it BIG!

    P.S; I found your link on Alister’s and i’m happy i clicked on it.

    • Interesting thought Jonathan – I don’t know the exact percentages but it’s true that those of us lucky enough to be born in the western world have access to a lot of luxuries, not least the chance to actually be creative which not everyone in the world gets to even consider!

  2. Right on Milo.

    Being creative can sometimes feel like a curse. It’s difficult to find focus with so many interests and thoughts bouncing around in our heads.

    I am a big fan of looking as the things we do with a critical eye though. Not in the “this is bad” sense but in the “what was good and how can we learn to make it better” way.

    It’s being open to and focusing on that latter question that really helps open thing up.

    Best,
    Dave
    Dave Charest recently posted..The Top 10 Visited Pages of 2010

  3. Very true Dave, I like the idea of asking yourself that each night as in ‘what went well today and what could I improve on’. Really good way of looking at things.

    Thanks again for stopping by and commenting!

  4. Great post Milo! Being a ‘clear-minded creative’ type is totally freeing don’t you think?! Once you’ve figured out our three questions above it definitely frees up some mental space to enjoy the ride!

    • Thanks Nicole! It has definitely helped me to get clear on these points yes. Though I don’t think I’m all the way there yet. The extra mental space is a very nice thing to have though I agree wholeheartedly :)

  5. Really great food for thought, Milo. I do believe that paying attention to what inspires you goes a long way towards answering those three questions. The answers, though, are always evolving. They build on what they were previously.
    Kim recently posted..Friday Photo – Breathe

    • Exactly Kim, following your interests/inspirations and embracing what you’re enthusiastic about is definitely the most natural way of discovering this, however there comes a time when you might feel like you’re going round in circles, which is what happened to me. At that point sometimes you need to step back and maybe take a different approach.

      It’s definitely a continuous process!

  6. Love this post, Milo, and the whole focus of this blog — congrats on a great new endeavor!

    For me, 2010 was a lot about answering those three questions> It’s a lifelong process, of course, but when you at least know what the questions are, you’re much better positioned to live the life you really want!

    Or as I like to put it, to follow your evolving bliss. :)

    Looking forward to following along as you share more of your thinking! (And so delighted to have you as part of the Thriving Artists Project!)
    Melissa Dinwiddie recently posted..Weekly Review 39- Year-End or Year-Start Review Part 2- Questing Forward

  7. Hi Melissa, I think just acknowledging uncertainty about these things is difficult for many people, and it’s the first step to getting clear about what we really want.

    Thanks for the kind words and comment. Of course I’m very interested in what you’re doing with the Thriving Artists Project, given the many links with what this blog is all about!

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