Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

A Letter from My Brain on Creativity, Writing, and Achieving Dreams

Dear Lisa,

Stop! Stop thinking so much. Stop trying to control your creative process, and give yourself a break.


You know, deep inside, that the creative process can't be forced. When have you ever been able to lasso those imaginative forces and wrangle them into control? Never, that's when. Your creativity comes from being inspired, when the energy of imagination swarms around you with unseen sparks.

[caption id="attachment_9049" align="aligncenter" width="300"]The energy of creative chaos. The energy of creative chaos.[/caption]

I know you best. You've relied on me for a long time. I love our relationship, but I also know when it is time to let go.

That time is now. I need a vacation and so do you.

I need you to take me to a place where the sun shines, the water is warm, the flowers are colorful, and music fills the air. I don't mean a real place (although that would be nice) but that place inside you where you believe in magic, possibility, fairies and they mysterious energy that feeds all creativity in this world.

When you allow yourself to dip into that energetic pool, without an agenda, without fear of failure, without comparing yourself to others, then you do your best work. You know that. I know that.

Stop thinking about what could go wrong, and make things happen. How often have you surpassed your own expectations? How often have found your own answers by letting go of comparisons to others? How often have you simply followed an idea and discovered something new and unexpected?

I'll be honest, though. I'm partially to blame for your struggles. I love to think. I love to ask difficult questions and make you agonize over the answers. I thrive on making you search for understanding of things beyond comprehension. Sometimes I get so caught up in feeding you new information and ideas that I let my guard down and allow the enemy in.

Who is the enemy? You know them well. They live inside you and whisper messages of failure. Ms. Self Doubt--who tells you that you will never be good enough. Professor Failure, who reminds you of all the places you have failed to achieve the goals someone else expects of you. The Green-Eyed Monster who reminds you that you never will be like all the people who are better, smarter, faster, more beautiful, more popular than you. Creature Critic who makes you harder on yourself then you would ever let anyone else be on themselves. Dr. Regret who haunts you with all the Shoulda Woulda Coulda's in your life. The Symphony of Suck who has mastered your personal song of failure.

And sometimes, I confess, I am your own worst enemy. I make you think too much. I'm sorry about that.

But I want to tell you, that group is made up of liars. They are all determined to stop you before you begin. They all live hidden in my crevices, and sneak out when I am trying to encourage you, and challenge you.

Stop listening to them!

Just Stop!

And if that means you have to stop listening to me sometimes, do it.

You also have another enemy, that manages to bypass me and stops you cold. Emotional Overload loves to make you react rather than do, or to freeze you with nightmares that I cannot control. You've been letting her win all week, after the loss of your dear friend. Enough of that. MacKenzie would not want her to win. She would tell you to get back to work.

So I am saying it for her. Stop thinking, stop feeling, stop making excuses and get back to work.

Instead, listen to the beat of your heart. Listen to the characters who clamor for your attention. Listen to your passion and your dreams, and know that you will achieve them even if the path is circuitous. Picture yourself diving into that warm pool, under a thundering waterfall, surrounded by dancing fairy lights.

Go on, dive. Don't worry about whether or not there are rocks at the bottom--that is thinking too much.

Stop thinking, and start living your journey one step at a time. After all, that journey has taken you to places you have never expected and introduced you to people you would never have met. It has led you on a path to discovering purpose, hope, inspiration. It hasn't always been easy, I admit, but it has filled you with the tools you need to create.

There is no one path to take. There is no one definition of success. Just because you have done one thing (such as write a novel) doesn't mean you are confined to only do that one thing forever and ever. You can write more novels, or not. You can write a non-fiction book, or not. You can write articles, or not. You can direct shows, or not. You can and should do whatever feels right for the path you are on now.

Together we decided that your new goal in life was to live life on your own terms. Why are you fighting against it so much? Because you are thinking too much. That's why. Stop! I love thinking, I confess, but sometimes I want to rest. I want to breathe. I want to go with the flow.

So, dear Lisa, I'm telling you now, you can rest. We can rest. It won't make us dumb, it will give us the freedom to fly.

Ready to jump with you, Your Brain