For creatives, who so often see solutions to the many challenges or opportunities presented to them, saying “yes” comes easily. It takes you in exciting, new directions, allows you to flex new thinking skills, and—more often than not—divides your focus so that your pie is full of many little slices.
During my freshman year at Boston University, I had a French teacher who, through no fault of his own and like many others before him, was unsuccessful in teaching me to improve my abysmal French. However, he did make a lasting contribution to my life regarding my comprehension of time.
One day, during a tangent in the middle of a lecture, the professor turned to the board. His tonsured head reflected the florescent lights as he drew a large circle, sliced it into lines with a piece of chalk and declared: “Time is just one big devouring of pie!”
I have written before of this epiphany. This random statement—capturing the essence of time as a limited resource (while in the middle of conjugating verbs)—has only continued to prove more and more true the older I become.
Time is like a pie, and however you slice it, there is only so much of it in a day.
For creatives, who so often see solutions to the many challenges or opportunities presented to them, saying “yes” comes easily. It takes you in exciting, new directions, allows you to flex new thinking skills, and—more often than not—divides your focus so that your pie is full of many little slices. Or, if you are a focused creative, with much willpower, who is Getting Things Done, then your pie is probably divided into only a few big slices.
This has been one of my meditations as The Paper Compass lay fallow during the snowy Boston winter and tragic, strange days of early spring. I thought about it frequently as my life had taken off in some surprising, wonderful and new directions, and taken my blogging time—and perhaps even more importantly—my routine, with it.
If time is like a pie, creativity is like water. Unless directed it follows the path of least resistance. Sometimes it carries you along, and other times, you are responsible for laying the duct work, building the dams, making sure that it doesn't overflow the banks, or dry up completely.
While all was quiet on The Paper Compass, creativity was flourishing through different outlets. A proposal—and joyful answer of “yes!”—have brought the whirlwind that is wedding planning to my life. To mark this happy occasion, I found myself pleasantly engaged again in crafting handmade gifts and keepsakes for my family (images below). I also flexed my creative writing muscles working on a draft of my novella under the direction of a talented student editor in Emerson College’s Publishing Program.
|A handmade card asking my sister to be my MOH|
|A MOH Survival Kit complete with instructions|
|A playful customized gift tag asks my brother if he'll walk me down the aisle|
|A keepsake box for my mom contains a garland made up of family wedding photos|
I kept returning to my meditation on time as pie though, because at the heart of creative process is routine. While we could speak endlessly about creativity and time as the best of frienemies, it is really your routine that allows you to do the work. There is limited space for creative endeavors within a day, because time is limited, so it all comes down to choice, priorities and “pruning”, as author Todd Henry of The Accidental Creative calls it. While I made advances on other creative projects in my life, The Paper Compass was placed on the proverbial back burner.
The good news is that no creative endeavor is truly endless. In fact, creativity like all things, has its cycles. Which is why I am pleased to say, that the heat wave that has ushered in June in the Northeast has also brought back my summer routine: the summer semester of Creative Thinking & Problem Solving is underway and my thoughts once again turn to blogging, writing, and the Summer Creative Challenges.
The lyrics of John Lennon remind us that, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” So while I can’t promise that this will be my most prolific blog year (it is the fourth year of The Paper Compass!), I can say that The Paper Compass is “back” and I will do my best to integrate my creative outlets and post here for sharing, thoughts and inspiration for your own creative journey.
All this talking about pie is perfect for some food for thought (pun intended!) or discussion below:
- If your day was a pie, how would it be sliced? What slices are the smallest? What are the largest? Can you make any changes to prioritize small slices of the pie?
- How much time is set aside for creative endeavors?
- Do you have a creative routine? If not, what are some of the ways that you could create one?
- How do you prioritize personal creative endeavors in your schedule?
- And one question that has been important to me in the past several months is: How do you bring patience to your creative process?