Creative Mondays #034 – Stick to your core.

NOTE:  Saw a huge uptick in traffic to this site from Canada this past weekend.  Just saying a big, warm hello to my pals up there.  Hope you enjoy what you read and can’t wait to see what originally creative things you come up with.


This week I’m going to start by telling you a story.  Around 2000 or 2001, I went with three friends to Canada to pull a ‘Grateful Dead’ and follow the band, Barenaked Ladies, on tour.  All three of us were huge fans and we had decided to follow them to three stops on their Canadian tour.  It was a lot of fun and the shows were great.  Through the Barenaked Ladies fan club, The Ladies Room, we had amazing seats.  Front row two nights, second row the other.  Barenaked Ladies is a great band to see night after night too because, while they do play some of the same songs, they change the setlist up a lot from night to night and work in a lot of older, obscure songs.  So, days were spent driving or exploring the towns and at night we rocked.  Even one night, hanging out with the band at a bar afterwards.

But on the third night, right before the show, I was sitting in the front ready to rock when all of a sudden a weird feeling hit me.  It took me a moment to work out what is was.  But suddenly, it clicked.  I was bummed because for the past few days I had been watching other people (Barenaked Ladies) pursue their creative talents and all I had done was sit and watch.  In that moment I realized that I didn’t want to be here passively watching, I wanted to be creating.  At that moment I made a rule for myself that, while going to concerts to watch is a great thing and creatively inspiring, I would never again ‘follow’ a band on tour for multiple shows.  I’d much rather spend those other nights working on my own creative pursuits.

I’ve always come back to that moment in my thoughts over the years, though I’ve never really known how to put it into words other than, “I didn’t want to be watching anymore, I wanted to be the one creating.”  I’ve never really talked about it to anyone over the years and wouldn’t have even considered it as a topic for a Creative Mondays until I was browsing Austin Kleon’s tumblr page and came across this chart and description he had reblogged from a tumblr user named Craighton Berman.  This chart and description described exactly how I felt about that night.


As you move away from the core, less effort is required. As you move closer to the core, more personal reward is gained.

I’m the type of person who needs to be close to the core.  I have to be.  If I spend to much time away from it and in the COLLECT area, I begin to feel like I did that night at the Barenaked Ladies show.  I need to Create A Little Everyday.  I need to be close to that core.

There’s nothing wrong with being a collector, not at all.  It’s just not for me.  I’m only happy and comfortable when I’m as close to that core as I can be.

Where do you fall on Craighton’s chart?  What steps can you take to get close to the core?  Let me know in the comments below.


3 thoughts on “Creative Mondays #034 – Stick to your core.”

  1. So you’re saying four PuppetUp! performances was too many? Kidding.

    I’ve been at all stages of that diagram and would have to agree that no matter what I am working on or how lengthy (e.g., chapter, scene, joke, photo), I am most satisfied and at my happiest when creating.

    What I love most about the illustration, however, is that it shows how the outer layers can feed and support the core. I was completely energized to create after watching the many performances of PuppetUp! and have done so, writing a short-film script that involves puppets.

    Ironically, I can find it difficult to purely enjoy other people’s works as I find my mind racing ahead, inspired to pursue and create myriad other projects (all fodder for my notebook as time rarely permits immediate execution).

    In any event, thanks for the post, Grant. Be well.

    1. Randall- Yes. I agree about the layers supporting the core. After reading your comment and thinking about it, I believe the problem was that I wasn’t creating at all. I was merely driving around consuming. Watching BNL ‘create’ every night made me ‘homesick’ for the process myself. If I did the trip again today, it’d be different specially since I now have my daily 600 words I write. As long as I was working on my own project during the day, I’d be fine with rocking out! Thanks again!

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