how to hear yourself think

January 22nd, 2015

how to hear yourself think

A few people wrote to me saying that the first creative challenge this year was too difficult. I didn’t mean it to be hard, but I did want it to be a bit of a stretch. The challenge is:

…quote yourself and illustrate that quote. Pick something you thought or said and write it beautifully.

The title of this challenge is “inspire yourself” and maybe that’s where the problem lies. When we think of being inspired we think of lofty, erudite, carefully crafted, words of wisdom that are supposed to move us. Don’t do that. Not because you won’t succeed (you might) but because it probably won’t be true–true to who you are. That is what this challenge is about, listening to yourself and writing down what you hear.

Hearing yourself think is harder than it seems. It’s not just because of children and beeping toys and beeping phones and the to do list that runs on repeat in your head. It is hard because even when we can hear ourself, we actively try not to listen. I’ve come up with three ways that will help you hear what you are thinking:

1. write it down

Many authors have said that they don’t know what they are thinking until they write it down. E. M. Forester said, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” John Updike said, “Writing and rewriting are a constant search for what one is saying.” Joan Dideon said,”I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.”

These people know what they are talking about. Sit down and write for 10 minutes, maybe more. See where it takes you.

2. pay attention

I was going to title this meditate, but then realized that sounds too difficult. Paying attention is not that hard. You can do it while you are cleaning the kitchen, or changing a diaper, or driving. Try to tune into the quiet voice that is constantly murmuring in the back of your head.

p.s. this is actually all mediation is.

3. listen to yourself

When you have kids you have to talk a lot about everything. There are days when I explain how peanut butter is made, what protesting it, why our cats eyes glow, what is a website, why hitting people is wrong, why baths are important, how water gets into the pipes in our house. Why not listen to some of your answers?

I hope this is helpful. The challenge is due on Monday. So write your quote and tag it #thecreativitiyclub. There are a few already up on instagram! Check it out.

Posted in creativity.

8 Responses to how to hear yourself think

  1. kristin says:

    so the thing is, there’s always a song in my head. always. so my quote is gonna be a song lyric – PLEASE DON’T KICK ME OUT OF CREATIVITY CLUB!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!

  2. Sarah M says:

    I love this challenge. I haven’t done mine yet, but I’m still stewing.
    Sarah M

  3. Jo Rich says:

    Not sure how I missed this challenge before now but as I’ve just signed up for a hand-lettering course, this is perfect. I’ve worked out my words and layout, now just to do the lettering. Not sure I’ll be ready for Monday but I’m going to do it anyway. Thanks!

  4. I absolutely love this idea. I have been writing down my thoughts all week and now have some good ones to choose from. I’m going to start illustrating today! Suck a great challenge, can’t wait to continue with this series!!

  5. rachel says:

    i don’t know if it’s because i’ve done a lot of meditation or if it’s just me, but man, i am always acutely aware of the non-stop chatter of that voice in my head. you explained how to tune in, but i’d like to know how to hit the mute button! maybe you can fill us in on that next time. ;)

  6. Brienne says:

    Please tell me how the hot water gets into our house. I get that one a lot…