Turn Waiting into Creative Gold

gold color in abstract

I think of creative gold as a state-of-mind rather than a goal to achieve. Even the richest ideas need a bit of simmering, giving them a chance to breathe and evolve. That doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating as crap when every tingle of excitement is pushing you to take what’s in your mind and heart and expand it into something that has legs in the “real world”, timing be damned!


There may also be situations when you take the leap and put a new idea out into the world, but people aren’t responding. Or, maybe an idea seems in jeopardy because a creative direction is no longer an option or key resources are unable to deliver, forcing you to regroup. Physical health can also throw a wrench in the things, tossing in an unexpected cold or injury that forces you to take a step back and focus on healing.


When you see mostly obstacles or hear only crickets, it’s easy to start doubting yourself and the value of your work. If the inner pressure to hurry along your prescribed mental timeline is winning, it can be a good idea check in and see…


I’m I really ready to share this creative gold or am I just trying to justify my creative work to myself?


As hard as it might be at times, I try to see these opportunities as a little extra nugget of creative gold, like an unplanned invitation to relax. Who knows what will happen during unplanned downtime? Maybe I can refine an idea, build a stronger infrastructure to support it or open up to new resources that arise along the revised timeline.


Keep a Clear Head When Emotions Cloud the View




The act of creation and execution are much faster with the help of technology which can add a sense of extra pressure. When people churn out material in what seems like seconds, it can feel as if you are always behind.


However, waiting is a key part of how your creative gift evolves, even if you aren’t happy with it or understand why it’s happening. The time, lessons and insights you gain during the forced “time-out” are all part of the creative process and are just as important as the “doing”.   It’s really important to remember that anything you create is always worth the time, even if it’s not translating into actual dollars, because it offers you a way to express the true you. Even if the pit-stop seems like an eternity, why not take the time you are waiting and turn it into the creative gold you never knew you wanted?


Start with some of the things you intend on doing but never quite get to instead of over thinking why the creative flow is held up. Here are some suggestions that are probably on your “some day” list in some form:

  • Clean a closet and get rid of clutter for good
  • Take extra or longer walks
  • Read more
  • Spend time with friends, kids and pets
  • Volunteer
  • Get in the garden
  • Switch up your work schedule
  • Go to a matinee
  • Leave your phone at home while you run errands
  • Listen to some of your favorite music, sitting in stillness just taking it in


Shifting focus to something else can take the mental pressure off wanting one particular idea to succeed and totally over-thinking it. With a bit more breathing room you can get fresh intuitive insight, a clearer angle or a new collaborator to help take the project into a fuller expression than you originally thought possible.


That’s why unexpected waiting really is some much-needed creative gold. If you try to control how the idea is evolving or how fast it reaches the goal you have created in your mind, you are undermining the whole beauty of the creative process.


Does it mean that you won’t be anxious, frustrated or feeling a bit down as you work through the waiting? Heck no! It does mean you can choose something more supportive and use the time in a way that infuses your idea with more awesomeness instead of saddling it with worry. Worry never leads to any form of creative gold but it can tarnish the gold you do have in your hand right now.


How do you handle dealing with an unplanned holding pattern and turn it into creative gold?


Photo credit: Jason A. Howie