I was getting ready to jump back into a major project, turning the content from 21 Secrets of Million-Dollar Sellers into a series of 30-minute webinars with a workbook supporting each secret, when I became aware of the silence. It was pre-dawn and the constant song from back blowers and weed eaters that permeate the neighborhood had not started. This silence is one of my great creative tools.
I spend most of my time in creative mode. My job is to transfer ideas to create value for our clients and readers. This requires an idea to connect to a goal or outcome. That connective move takes a couple of forms for Creative Ventures. It might be a presentation, a class, a video, a blog, or another form of writing. It’s a strange occupation. As such, I am always studying other writers and creators in an effort to get better. I want to discover any new methods, work practices or creative tips. I subscribe to blogs, websites, and emails all around the creative process and I am amazed at the number of people that share the need for silence in order to create.
I think anyone who has done this type of creating develops their own methods and I am no exception. I’ve shared these before:
- SCRIBBLE – I just grab stuff. Facts, ideas, examples all feeding an idea. They have no order. They are the chaos of the idea
- ASSEMBLE – I pull from the scribble to begin assembling the idea into a sense of organization. This takes the form of large colored post-its and 5” X 8” index cards. Now I can see the pieces in one place. I often move to sketching a storyboard at this point. I am driven by the need to visually connect before I actually start writing or building a platform.
- THE ARC – The idea now has a beginning form. I return to three different colored large post-its. This is the arc form, one color for beginning, one for middle, and one for ending.
With this three-part process done, I can write. This might be an article, newsletter, blog, PowerPoint/keynote visual journey, or a stage-crafted presentation. This process is not unique to me and is shared by lots of writers.
The really interesting part is that none of this can happen with any other form of input. I can only do this in SILENCE. I can’t have music or any other form of background sound. As I study other writers I notice that the vast majority need silence to connect to their ideas.
The Opportunity of Silence
In silence, I hear the narrative of the flow. I can create order from the chaos of ideas. I can hear the story. It is the single most powerful element of the process. My system of SCRIBBLE, ASSEMBLE and THE ARC is connected by silence. Silence allows for a certain rhythm to develop. This rhythm is filled with opportunities to pause, think, revise, and move forward or backward. It creates an emptiness that is begging to be filled.
It took me a long time to realize the critical nature of silence in the creative process. I am a music fanatic and it is a constant in my day. Endless playlists create the soundtrack of my day, EXCEPT when writing. Despite my connection to the songs, I need to dislodge the melodies, notes, and measures to get something “on paper”.
I am a person that fills time with the noise of my own voice. I actually get paid to do it. But to find real meaning in the discovery of an idea, I can only get there on the Sounds of Silence.
Because a vision softly creepingPaul Simon
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence