Deepak’s guide to the creative process

Deepak Chopra's guide to the creative process

‘If you think your input is authentic, it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks.’

Such wise words from my man Deepak.

Whatever your idea — whether it’s a sugar-free cookbook, a vampire novel, or a wellness blog — it’s all too easy to get caught up in comparing it to what’s already out there. Which usually means a one-way ticket to procrastination and creative lethargy. (But somebody has already had my idea! There’s no point in me even trying!)

But Deepak begs to differ. If what you’re saying is authentic — if it is true to you — then it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks, you should just dive in and get it done — a much more constructive way of looking at the creative process.

I recently heard Dr Chopra speak at a writer’s workshop. As expected, he was articulate, insightful and inspiring. He was also super-practical, incredibly honest and unexpectedly funny!

I thought I’d share with you some of the juicy niblets he shared on stage about the creative process, including the big secret as to how he himself manages to be so prolific (to date, he has written more than 70 books, including 21 New York Times bestsellers).

Here’s his view on how you should go about creating…

The 9 I’s of the creative process

1. Intended outcome.

You need to have a very clear vision of what your message is. Ask yourself ‘what is the basic message of my book?’ When discerning the answer, practice heart awareness (that is, tuning into your body — specifically your heart — and truly listening to the feelings and intuition that emanate from there). You don’t need to actually answer the question, just stay with it. Note the sensations, images, feelings and thoughts that arise. Write them down.

2. Investigation.

Start to gather information. You need to undertake research on your topic. What are other people in your field saying? What else is being written?

3. Information analysis.

This step can be a bit of a struggle. Look closely through every thing you’ve uncovered in step 2, as well as your own experience. Identify patterns, points of interest and questions for further investigation.

4. Incubation.

Just let it all go. The best ways to do this are meditation, yoga, exercise, dancing, or anything where you can lose yourself in the flow of the activity. This is a period of uncertainty and detachment.

5. Insight.

This is where you make a quantum leap of understanding. For the insight to be truly valuable, it must come from your inner vision. From your soul.

6. Inspiration.

Motivation is mental, and it waxes and wanes. But inspiration is spiritual. There’s no going back once you’re inspired. It changes you. Inspiration will see you Get It Done.

7. Implementation.

Start writing. Keep writing. And whatever you do, don’t stop writing.

8. Integration.

This is the step where everything falls into place. All the things that you’ve learned, all the ideas that you’ve birthed, all of them slot into your vision, and take it beyond what you initially conceived of.

9. Incarnation.

The death of the old paradigm, and the birth of a new one.

And that’s it, the creative process in a nine-step-nutshell!

So what does this mean?

Especially for those of us who are struggling to get our thoughts onto paper and get that damn book (or blog post, or any form of creative pursuit) realised?

Well, it’s about doing it every day. It’s about creating time in your schedule to put pen to paper (or brush to canvas, or whittling knife to wood). It’s about scheduling the time so that it is a priority and that it happens. (Remember, if it’s not scheduled, it’s not real!)

And then, it’s about keeping on going. Do not stop. Do not ever, ever give up.

And the big secret?

Deepak said that he himself writes for two hours every day. Every day. Every day.

That’s how you write more than 70 books including 21 New York Times bestsellers.

That’s how you bring your creative visions to life.

That’s the dirty little secret: you just have to write.

So tell me buttercup, do you schedule your writing time? Head down to the comments and tell me what works best for you!



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