We finish a season of wish lists and enter a phase of resolutions. We’re always wanting something, aren’t we?
I’m writing this post in that strange and wonderful week when Christmas Day has past, Hanukah is in progress, and New Year’s Day is soon to come. Our home has been filled with holiday sounds. For us, that’s mostly conversation and laughter, but also music.
Back in the early 1990s, the songwriting duo of David Foster and Linda Thompson-Jenner created the ballad, “Grown-Up Christmas List.” It’s a grown-up’s list for a messed-up world, where the singer wishes that “time would heal all hearts, and everyone would have a friend, and right would always win …” and then some.
I have wishes too. Not so much for a messed-up world, but for a grown-up world that needs the positivity and progress that are possible when we tap into the powers of creativity.
So here’s my creativity wish list for every grown-up client, colleague, and friend I know—and those I’ve yet to meet. It’s a 10-point list with infinite bonus points for those who #RefuseToBeBoring and give themselves permission to embrace any or all of these ideas.
All the tools and supplies you need to do good work and feel good doing it. That perfect pen. That lightweight laptop. That notebook with the graph paper pages. That pencil sharpener that grinds perfect points. That giant set of Sharpies. (Note: this list does not include software for building decks or spreadsheets. Less of those, please.)
A creative partner who gets you and doesn’t want to change you. Brainstorming buddies who know that every idea has potential. Editors you can trust to make you and your work look and sound and be amazing.
Time alone, when you can hear yourself think (but ignore the confidence-destroying voice of your inner critic), craft your own agenda, and act on your own creative impulses.
The things you need, where you need them. An ergonomic setup that keeps you in position to work for a long time, and for a long time to come. A routine that serves you without making you a slave to habit.
At least one physical place you can claim for the making of good work or good decisions. Maybe an entire room or studio, but possibly a cubicle or car or recliner.
Great books. Interesting podcasts. Good music, played as loud as you like. An unobstructed view that brings you joy, whether it’s the scene out your window, the paint color on your wall, or the photo on your home screen.
Meals you enjoy while eating and feel good about having eaten. Snacks to satisfy your cravings and restore your focus. Occasional indulgences to savor.
Everyday opportunities to stretch and flex and walk and wiggle. A reminder to stand at least once every hour. And every now and then, the reckless abandon to dance the way you used to.
Not just one good night’s sleep, but a whole week of them. The freedom to close your eyes in the middle of the day, if not to doze off, then to take a wee break from the hard work of looking, seeing, watching, noticing, and paying attention.
Frequent bursts of laughter. Daily opportunities to hear and tell good stories. Appreciation for your own clever thoughts. And every now and then, occasion to smile so much that your face hurts.
What’s a wish worth?
As my mom used to say, “Wishing won’t make it so.” This list is just a starting point. If you’re serious about having these 10 things to spark your own creativity, go after them. Give yourself permission, and #RefuseToBeBoring.