Setting Good Intentions: Creative Listing

Creative listing is a core creative exercise which supports your creative intention. Use it whenever you set a new intention, to help establish and map its parameters and what you need to fulfill it.

Here's how:

1. Frame your intention

I am going to create _________  by _________, the first blank being your significant something, the second the date by which you will create it.

If your intention is a life-change — to become an actor, to leave your partner — set down the first step in the process, as you see it.

The date is important, put a date-stamp on it.

2. Visualize and Sensualize Your Intention

Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and imagine in as vivid detail as you can what it looks and feels like to have this significant something in place.

Don’t just see it in your mind. Visualization is important but the more sensory levels, inner and outer, you run your intention through, the more likely it is to materialize. Put your attention on the feeling state you experience when you inhabit your intention, as you experience it, ahead of time, in your imagination. It should feel great — but there might also be some fear, trepidation, anxiety. Feel what you feel.

A sensory experience of what you want to create, combined with the emotion of how it feels to have it, will have the deepest impact on your imaginative and creative capacity.

So first, run it through a checklist of your five outer senses: sight, taste, touch, sound, and smell.

  • See what it looks like to have it already.
  • What sounds can you associate with it?
  • What smells?
  • What tastes?
  • What are you touching or what it touching you?

Then you run it through your five inner senses: emotion, memory, intuition, perception, and imagination.

  • How does it feel?
  • What does it remind you of?
  • What is your gut telling you?
  • What perceptions do you associate with it?
  • Now let your imagination run loose. Imagine whatever feels good to imagine. Ask yourself the question what if, what if?

3. F-r-e-e-write it out

Write three pages that order up your intention. Write out all the details of just what you want, as if placing an order for the intention to be manufactured by somebody who doesn’t know you, and doesn’t quite understand what you’re talking about.

Make your description as clear and as detailed as you can.

Make your description as clear, detailed, vivid and exciting as you can. Again, the more emotional energy you can bring, the deeper the impact on your subconscious mind and your creative faculties.

4.  Identify your challenges

Why haven’t you created this already? If you find all your answers to this question involves other people, you need to turn your attention around to yourself. You may find it easy to see how others don’t help, or outer circumstances get in the way,  but at least 80% of the reason is actually you. Some change you need to make in yourself now, if you are to succeed. Always start with you.

TRY THIS: The thing you want to create: give it a voice.  Let it f-r-e-e-write a letter to you, telling you what it thinks of you, what it needs from you.

5. Identify knowledge information and skills.

What do you need to know and do? Think about inner skills — creative practices like f-r-e-e-writing and meditation to strengthen your creative core — as well as the more obvious outer needs. (See also #7)

6.  Identify Supportive Others

Who can help you?  Family, friends, colleagues, customers… who is likely to support you? Surround yourself with supportive people who understand, until your intention is established.

7. Identify Work, Rest and Play Activities

Remember that play and rest are intrinsic parts of the process. What’s the ideal combination of activities for you, as you set out to create this new thing in your life? How will you fit them in? (One of the categories of work, rest or play will dominate for you, probably work.  Creative Balance is what you're aiming for.)

8. Make A Creative List

Take a blank sheet of paper and divide it into three columns: outer activity, inner activity, other people. Write down everything that jumps to mind. When you think you've added everything, add some things, and then a few that are silly. Then sleep with the list under your pillow and first thing in the morning, add more ideas. Take the rest of that day to add more, as they come to mind.

9. Review Your List

Read back over this list with two highlighter pens, orange and green.

  • Color those those that are long-term, big things that will take a year or more in most desirable, most pressing and would make the most difference in orange.
  • Color those that you can do in the next month in green.

In the next post, we'll turn these creative lists into two time-based maps, one for the next year and one for the next month.