AFTER the party is over: A lesson for the creative process

On September 19 at the Museum of Science in Buffalo, NY. I officially launched my latest book, Create in a Flash: A leader’s recipe for breakthrough innovation. Over 200 people attended the event. I gave a talk in the auditorium and then we had a wonderful party and book signing on the second floor of the museum. Music was provided by guitarist Bobby Lebel, member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. I even sat in on guitar for a few tunes.

So, why have an elaborate celebration? Why such a big party?

One of the reasons why I hosted the party was to thank the many people who, over the years, influenced much of what I included in the book. Another reason was to share the celebration of this accomplishment.

The book is out into the world, and the party is over. Now what?

Aside from focusing on getting the book to as many people as possible, now is my time to rest.  Now is the time to regroup, to do those things that I did not do while I was immersed in the writing process over the last year.

Since Flash went to print, I have noticed that I have felt the need to give myself permission to rest, regroup, and reflect.

I remind myself that celebration and rest are crucial for creativity. They are part of the heartbeat of the creative process. Just as your heart rests between beats, we need to rest after an outflowing of activity. Just as you rest at the end of the day to prepare for the next day, or rest after a physical workout to get ready for the next one.

Think about music. What would happen if we only heard sound, constant sound, without any silence? It is not only the notes that you hear that makes the music, it is also the silent space between the notes. When the music rests.

After a period of creative outpouring, you need time to refill your cup of creativity so that you can continue to innovate.

In organizations, I often see a team complete a major project one day and then they are off the next day working on the next project – without taking time to celebrate, rest or reflect. Unfortunately, this activity is a recipe for burnout and lack of creative output.

Creativity and life are made of opposites — activity and rest, hard work and celebration, day and night.

Chapter three in the Bible’s book of Ecclesiastes says this pretty well, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… a time to plant and a time to harvest… a time to be silent and a time to speak.”

And, to carry my Sunday school lessons a bit further, from the book of Genesis, chapter two…“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested.”

There you have it. If God can rest after his creative work, so can we.

I am proud to report, Create in a Flash is now available for order. Come and get it!

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