Creative Productivity

Creative Productivity

Creative To Productive In Three Easy Steps

This is a transcription of my thoughts during the drive home tonight.

No notes. No outline No precursor.

We’re doing it LIVE folks!

In three, two, one …

The three steps that take me from Creative to Productive:

  1. See a SPARK
  2. FUEL the fire
  3. CONTAIN the flames

It’s easy to be creative.

It’s tough to be productive.

But what’s the point of being creative if you don’t create?

That is, what’s the point of having all those deliciously juicy ideas if no one, including you, gets to taste them?

Don’t Shortchange Yourself Or Your Dinner Guests

I can just imagine guests showing up for Sunday brunch at my sister‘s house, their taste-buds and tummies fairly frothing to indulge in her latest culinary creation – only to find themselves with ears full of lovingly detailed menu ideas and empty plates. 

Ideas are intangible.

You can’t slather cream cheese on an idea. Imagining one of my sister’s homemade sun-dried tomato bagels at 2 in the morning doesn’t cut it. There is nothing like sinking my teeth into the real deal.

And that’s where productivity comes in.

Productivity makes creativity tangible.

  • Productivity makes creativity substantial, gives it form, breathes life into it.

It writes the recipe on the index card, spreads baking utensils and ingredients on the counter, and gets into creativity up to it’s elbows.

  • Productivity also refines creativity.

It tells us that ginger and cinnamon don’t play well together. It prompts us to make a second batch, this time at a lower heat. 

Productivity is not a dirty word.

Productivity does not squash creativity or dull it’s shine.

Productivity balances and sustains creativity.

THE KEYS to partnering creativity and productivity are time and attention.

It takes time and attention to tune in and jot down all those fabulous ideas flickering around in your skull like gloriously tireless fireflies.

Here’s How It Works For Me

Every night after dinner, I take my little terrier Jax for a walk.

During these walks, I enjoy looking at gardens, smelling food on the breeze, and listening to children playing, dogs barking, and wind whispering in the trees.

I walk the same path every night and yet, each night reveals some new thing, some new experience.

  • A different voice coming from the blue house on the corner.
  • A flower blossoming in the rambling English garden two houses down.
  • A tabby cat arching and hissing atop a trash can in the alley.

So, sorta mundane. A little shake up now and then. But nothing to write home about so far, right?!

But wait! What’s that looming in the distance?

  • Unexpected storm clouds rolling in?
  • The sound of breaking glass followed by total silence?
  • Lights flicking off and on in the empty house with the ‘for sale’ sign?

Great Scott! Whatever will we do?

Why, turn that creativity into productivity, of course!

  1. SPARK: Unexpected shadows. Tree limbs scraping like skeleton limbs.
  2. FUEL: The outline of the hospital at the end of the street. The empty water truck a half block away. The image of zombies flashing through my minds eye.
  3. CONTAIN: Open evernote app, begin a new note, and use voice-to-text to capture the idea.

Where does that leave us?

What did all that seeing, fueling, and containing gain us?

In this case, I came away with two viable products:

  1. The makings of a spooky Poem Walk
  2. The bones of a zombie short story

If I had not tuned into my surroundings, had not noticed what was different in an everyday situation, I would have missed the spark.

If I had not connected that spark to other seemingly random items or imaginings, I’d have missed the fuel.

If I had not captured those feelings and details, I’d have missed the containment.

Any ideas I’d experienced would have faded away into just another ho-hum everyday walk.

The Bullish Points

  1. Seeing the spark is simply training ourselves to be aware of the hundreds of possibilities floating around us at any one moment in time.
  2. Fueling the spark is stirring up our curiosity, connecting the unlikeliest of things, and asking ourselves, ever and always, ‘what if?’
  3. Containing the spark is a matter of writing down the bones of the thing, it’s a beacon on the horizon, and it’s the road that leads us home – to a finished story, a full set of song lyrics, or the newest mouth-watering bagel flavor.

Until we link productivity to creativity, we’re just wandering around at midnight salivating over imaginary bagels.

  1. See
  2. Fuel
  3. Contain

Three easy steps.

It’s that easy and that tough.

Are you up for the challenge?

Jobs on Creativity






One Reply to “Creative Productivity”

  1. There is nothing mundane about what you’ve shared! It’s a keen sense for the delicate moments within moments that are exciting. I live in those moments as it seems that you do, as well. Thank you for sharing 🙂