In Do More Great Work, the author describes the creative rhythm as expanding and contracting, imagining and doing. I think a lot about the cycle of creativity, the flow of inspiration + doing, followed by a time of quiet not-doing…but I've forgotten the rhythmof every creative endeavor, the rhythm of expansion and contraction. Of breathing in inspiration, ideas, big dreams, and then breathing out, narrowing in on the things you will do.

We creatives LOVE the expansion part. We soak up inspiration, we breathe in dreams, we acquire ideas. Magazines, classes, pinterest…it's all one big inhalation, one glorious expansion of all possible things, zooming infinitely outward.

But the exhalation, the contraction, the doing…well, that's not as glorious. Not as tweetable.

But if anything is ever going to get done, if you're going to write that book or finish that project or launch that line, there has to be a point where you stop inhaling and you start exhaling. You zoom in on what you will do.

In narrowing your focus, the outer stuff, the stuff you decide not to do gets fuzzy and eventually falls out of the frame.
And while this doesn't look so exciting, exhaling and contracting can be  filled with enthusiasm, an inner propulsion that glides the project out of your head and into the world.

I'm here.

I've inhaled inspirations, stories, examples, and dreams. It's time to exhale, to breathe out the last bit of the book. To hand it on time. To contract narrow my focus to only the book and the Starship* (for the next few weeks).


Are you inhaling? Is it time to exhale?


*This means you won't be seeing me on the blog, in your inbox, or anywhere else (except for Instagram, and the Starship) until February 8th. 

The Map-Making Guide is my personal exhalation process. Turn dreams and wishes into measurable milestones and do-able to-dos. The Starship will be starting the map-making guide together, with weekly check-ins, this Wednesday. Join us here, if you like.

9 Comments on It’s time for the contractions

  1. Kristine Beeson
    January 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm (12 years ago)

    contractions, great analogy. {{hugs}} while you finish this process 🙂

  2. Elizabeth Drouillard
    January 31, 2012 at 2:34 pm (12 years ago)

    Beautiful description. Though I’m not really digging the contraction flashbacks. 😉  Now, where’s the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack….?  Seriously though, I’m exhaling in a major way.  Though I’ve been thinking of it more as exercising.  I’ve feasted.  Majorly.  Now it’s time to get moving and do something with it.  Best wishes on the rest of your book journey!

  3. Tara Swiger
    January 31, 2012 at 2:42 pm (12 years ago)

    Ha! I haven’t had *real* contractions yet, so no messy connotations for me. Yes! Exercising!
    I also think about this as consuming and then using (or expelling)…but that also has some messy metaphors, doesn’t it 🙂

  4. Tara Swiger
    January 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm (12 years ago)

    Thank you so much, K!

  5. Elizabeth Drouillard
    January 31, 2012 at 10:46 pm (12 years ago)

    Yeah…I’m sticking with exercising. 😉

  6. Allie
    February 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm (12 years ago)

    Love this! I often find myself doing too much of one or the other — just inhaling or just exhaling. But there should be a natural rhythm to it, just like breathing. This is a wonderful reminder.