Coffee with two hands

The other day I was listening to a podcast (The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry) on how to stoke your creativity and refill your creative well. (This episode.)

He says "If you want to have great ideas consistently, you must be fiercely curious." I love that he is connecting creativity and curiosity. One of my "one little words" was curious (in 2012), and it was the year I decided to leave my job and embark on a more creative life. So I totally get that.

The podcast goes on to talk about techniques you can use to stoke your creativity and enhance your curiosity. It's really important to "refill your creative well" he says, and to do so, he talks about reading widely, and studying the great minds in your creative field.

It got me thinking about creative inputs, and how to tell the difference between good creative inputs and bad ones. I'm reflecting on it this month in particular, in light of my October Dare to spend less time online (particularly on email, blogs, and social media) and more time creating my own work in my own creative space.

So there is a little contradiction here, right? Or perhaps not a contradiction but a balance that must be achieved between protecting space in our own world for our creativity and spending time nibbling on the creative minds of others to refill the well.

How do you know when to do which?

Which are the good inputs, and which are the bad ones?

Sometimes it's not easy to tell.

With all this swirling in my head, I came across the idea of drinking your coffee with two hands. I read about it here. (Uh oh, I'm on blogs again, which I said I wouldn't do, but in this case I got a great nugget from it. Hmmm.)

Anyway, you might wonder what drinking coffee with two hands has to do with anything in this post. Here's the thing. Drinking coffee with two hands usually means we are in the moment just a little more than when we drink it with one hand. We are soaking it in a little more. It is an analogy for slowing down and tuning in to what is in front of us.

And so it occurred to me that maybe this is the answer. Whether I am gathering inputs to refill the well, or working within my own protected creative space, I need to do it with two hands. I need to avoid the spastic changes in focus between these very different types of tasks (i.e. drinking coffee with one hand, multi tasking with the other.) It's when I try to jump back and forth between these worlds that I end up in trouble. Instead, I need to carve out a big chunk of time for one or the other, not both, then "drink it with both hands."

Here's to drinking your coffee with both hands.

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