I was grumbling about all the chrome on the bike. Not a fan of shiny, polish-needing parts on anything, I was using a toothbrush to clean the wheels of the bike. No, I’m not a neat-freak, but the bike is black and chrome, and it had started to look unkempt, insect-spotted and dusty. So I was polishing, wiping, washing and toothbrush- wielding. It felt like the whole bike was made of chrome.
Dan rolled up in the driveway behind me.
“What’s new?” he asked, getting off his bike.
“Polishing up Suzie Lightning, then going for a ride,” I said.
He considered the cloud cover and said, “Every minute you spend polishing that thing, you aren’t riding it. And you bought it to ride, not polish.”
He was right, but I said, “Gotta keep it clean.”
“Sure,” he agreed, “but you can keep it clean at night or when it’s cold. Take advantage of what you have.”
The same is true of creative work. Artists and writers can spend a lot of time on prep work, and never get to the actual writing or art. Cleaning the studio, the house, doing laundry all are important, but the wrong time to do them is when it is time to do creative work.
Leave the cleaning for a time when you aren’t creatively charged or know that you have just enough time to do one load of laundry. Life is short, your creativity is calling you. Go answer.
Image of all-chrome bike: http://www.motorbiker.org
–Quinn McDonald is a trainer in business communications and a certified creativity coach. See her work at QuinnCreative.com (c) 2008 All rights reserved.