I’ve been lost so many times in the creative wilderness, I can’t count.
The silvan glades that I happily entered turned into dark, spooky haunts after a few wrong turns. Thankfully, I’ve learned that exploring a real forest and the creative wilderness are not that different. If you don’t take the right tools along, you can get lost.
Tools Help Along the Journey
A compass in your hand in the woods helps you because it shows you a constant direction. Every time you look down at it you can find North. Knowing that one True direction can help you find your way.
Similarly, when you go on a creative journey (like to write a book or to start a podcast) you also need a kind of compass to help you through.
Maps and compasses are familiar enough tools. But what do we take into the creative wilderness? What creative tools can help you find your way when you get lost?
The Creator’s Compass
After many years of getting lost, I’ve finally found a kind of compass for creators that I call the Re-Creation Cycle. It’s a simple 4-part tool to help you see where you are in the process. Like a real compass, it’s a circle. One that you go around and around in as you get more and more creative.
I gave it a short mnemonic, PART to help you remember the four parts. When you choose to take PART on a creative journey, you go through each of the four letters.
Here are the Four Parts of the Re-Creation Cycle
- We start with a Problem to solve. That’s the P.
- Then, we begin to take Action, A.
- These actions get Results, R.
- The results teach us something new. We have learned and come back around, coming full cycle to T, a new Truth.
People Get Lost Without a Compass
Choosing to take PART in a challenge is always a choice. So that means many people also choose not to act. They see a problem but don’t take action to change their results and they don’t find new Truths.
This is getting stuck. This is the start of despair. This is when you feel like there is no way out and you have nowhere else to go. Depression sets in and the spiral is the opposite of creative.
It’s destructive. (Did you notice TRAP is what you get if you do the PART cycle backwards? Don’t fall into the backward spiraling TRAP!)
Know Where You Are At All Times
With the Creator Compass, I know where I am in the cycle at all times. This is the key to not getting lost. When I face a Problem, I know I can choose to be scared or get curious about my next actions.
The more Action I take the quicker and deeper the learning I get. (Writing this article is one of those actions. Writing and Shipping daily is what really works. best.) My actions will yield Results, and by reflecting I can better learn from them.
And coming full circle the results will give new Truths that will give me clarity for the next time I chose to make my way around the cycle.
What Would You Choose Moving Forward?
Like a real forest, there are always challenges and pits to fall into. Would you rather enter those woods empty-handed, or with a compass as your guide? Take Re-Creation Cycle with you and you will never get lost.