I am starting to believe in God
Or at least in some sort of spiritual Helper.
Because recently I’ve found that by putting my writing into the hands of a spiritual guide, it’s flowing.
I used to have to push through the words and sit through hours of blocks. As Elizabeth Gilbert says: be the plow mule.
Long, painful, boring creative work, which is now unblocked*
The Hand of God has touched my blank pages.
Or, rather, a special little book called The McGyver Secret.
Written by McGyver creator Lee Zlotoff to help artists, entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to create anything come up with ideas.
His concept is simple: we all have an inner McGyver inside of us, which will readily provide answers to any question (creative, top notch, high quality answers), should we bother to ask.
It took me years of searching for a process that worked for me, and this one does. I’m writing my next play and in just 15 days had three fully fleshed-out scripts to choose from.
So I’m sharing it here hoping it gives you some tools, and helps.
It’s not McGyver only, though. I’m combining it with Self-Love Gold from Julia Cameron and a sprinkle of Magic Fairy Dust from Marie Forleo.
Step 1: “Produce before you consume”
This is a mantra from life coach Marie Forleo who reminds us that our daily bucket of willpower is limited. So better tackle the big creative tasks first thing in the morning, before it gets trickled down by us consuming what others have created.
It also has the added benefit that you’re not starting to write with your head filled with the amazing stuff people who are ahead of you in the creative journey have produced.
Which means that your book, your songs, your play… need your attention before your social media feed.
This one’s a bit tough for me so what I do now as soon as I wake up is make coffee, sit at my desk, and start working.
Step 2: Weed out the judging and the whining
Ok, I whine a lot… and judge my words a lot… which doesn’t help when you want to get your creative juices flowing.
How to avoid that? Julia Cameron’s Morning pages.
If you don’t know what these are, know that they have almost cult status among creatives. I’ve joined the ranks and do them religiously every morning.
They consist in a stream of consciousness writing – a minimum of 3 pages, every morning. You can’t stop until you’ve reached the bottom of your third page, even if the only thing you’re writing is “I don’t know what to write, this is so boring…”
It weeds out all the petty thoughts that play in repeat in your brain: once they’re on the page, they’re out of your sytem and you can connect to the Inner You that actually has something interesting to say.
Step 3: Let Mac take over
Then comes the time for actual work, and I basically let ‘my innerMac’ take over.
The day before, I’ve written down a question, such as “Why is my character angry at her partner?”, or “Can you help me write the introduction scene?”, and I let the writing flow. A bit like the morning pages, except that this time it is not me writing, it is… someone else…
The answers come, and usually they’re amazing. And I’m not doing anything.
Kind of spiritual.
Step 4: Ask the next question
Once my writing is finished – roughly after 30 minutes to one hour – I write the next question I want Mac to answer: ‘“ok, so you said her partner cheated on her, but with whom?” Stuff like that.
Then I close the shop and call it a day.
Usually, it is 8.30-9.00am, and I’ve done my most important work of the day.
Simple, but relaxing because it allows me to move forward with my writing without stressing out about it.
And I have some pretty cool ideas for my next show, so if you’re at the Edinburgh Fringe in August, come and say Hi!
I hope this helps.
Now I’d love to hear from you.
What is your process? Do you too have a spiritual approach to creativity, or do you take a more rational approach?
Please share it in the comments below.
PS: if you are at the Brighton Fringe this weekend, I am performing Behind Our Skin.. come say hi?