Webinar Recording: The Discipline & Art of Creating

In this webinar, we talk about how to bring both discipline and art to the act of creating — even when they might seem contradictory to each other.

I’ve broken this webinar recording into two parts:

  1. Part I – My Talk: I share how to bring a discipline that is based on curiosity and gentleness, plus how to bring your childlike wonder to your create sessions. (See notes)
  2. Part II – Questions & Answers: I answered some amazing questions from participants, a must-watch.

Part I: Leo’s Talk (with notes)

Here are the notes from my talk (video is above):

The Problem:

  • We want to make time to create, but we struggle with the discipline of it. Our minds rebel, we have lots of other things to do, we’re not in the habit of doing it, and we have a million rationalizations.
  • And then, if we do get disciplined, it can feel too rigid, too tight, to support actual creativity.

The Discipline:

  • The fundamental thing we need to do if we’re going to create … is to show up. We can’t be all “artistic” and just wait for the muse to strike us. We have to show up every day just like the pros do, as Stephen Pressfield wrote in the War of Art. That means creating structure, and then actually showing up.
  • We will face uncertainty, discomfort, rationalizations, and urges to run. We need to deal with each of these.
  • With uncertainty & discomfort, the practice is to be fully with them. That means pausing before running away or putting it off, and practicing by giving your full attention to the sensations of uncertainty and discomfort. With curiousity and gentleness. With practice, we can show ourselves that it’s No Big Deal that we’re feeling these, that we don’t need to run, that in fact they’re a sign that we’re moving into the space we need to move into in order to create.
  • With rationalizations, we need to become aware of them, and then not believe them. Come up with counterarguments, and then do the thing anyway. Start with the next small step and pour ourselves into that small step.
  • The urge to exit or put off is interesting. It can feel like an urgent demand, but in fact it’s just a sensation. We can stay with this urge for a moment, be with it, and be gentle with it. It’s nothing to panic about. In fact, it will go away after a moment.
  • The key is to practice the discipline of showing up, which as you can see is actually a gentle discipline of not believing rationalizations but being with uncertainty, urges, discomfort with curiosity and kindness.

The Art:

  • So we’re showing up, but not in a harsh, rigid way but with gentleness and curiosity … this is exactly how we need to be in order to create!
  • Creating is about relaxing into openness, and letting things flow. This doesn’t come naturally for many people … or rather, it does, but then we train ourselves out of it as adults. So we need to let the kid come out and play!
  • Remember what it was like when you were 8 — free, creative, fun. Bring that child back out, and let yourself flow without worrying about how it will turn out. Play and wonder!

Part II: Questions & Answers

In this 2nd part of the webinar, I answered some great questions from those who attended, including:

  • The urge to smoke seems different from the urge to procrastinate — and how it might be different to deal with each
  • Creating is having an image in your mind and then putting it out there, but the problem is if you don’t have the skills to put it out there very well — it causes stress and feels like a failure
  • I have the time to practice music now but I feel like I wasted so much time (the years I wasn’t practicing) — it puts me off, I don’t feel like I’m able to overcome that, so I sit there and don’t do anything
  • When I miss 3-4 days in a row, it’s really hard to get back, even though I know that when I do it, I’m going to have a blast