I’ve been Facebook friends with Viv Nesbitt, the wife of author John Dillon, for some time. She and John produce “The Art of the Song Creativity Radio,” a radio show that’s heard on more than 200 public and community radio stations around the country. I was very curious when I heard about John’s new book, “The 20-20 Creativity Solution,” because I knew that anyone who could successfully grow a RADIO show in today’s media environment had to be pretty creative!
After reading the review copy John sent me, I can affirm that he is indeed a very creative fellow, and one who understands the mechanics of the creative process better than most. His book, a quick read at just 140 pages, is packed with useful information about creativity – not just the arts-based kind, but any kind of novel, innovative behavior.
At the heart of John’s book is the 20-20 Practice, a set of activities that take 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening to do. John asserts that the practice is not a creative endeavor in and of itself; rather, it is “a method to clear the decks and prepare the way to more effectively do your creative work/play.”
None of the pieces of the practice is unique, but John’s application and arrangement of them is. Long-time creativity practitioners will be familiar with the idea of doing a daily review, working with gratitude, forgiveness, apology and relying on “sleep thinking” to do its work on creative issues, as well as the practices of meditation and free-writing. I like that he emphasizes the importance of starting the practice at night, when it’s quite useful to flush out the day’s frustrations and tensions and set the subconscious mind to work on knotty creative challenges while asleep.
Beyond the 20-20 Practice, some of my favorite features of the book are:
- John gives a summary of his relationship with the creative process, and notes that he’s not necessarily an excessively right-brained type of person. He describes himself as a “left-brainer who has to make a conscious effort to express myself creatively.” This gives readers who haven’t been creating since they emerged from the womb hope that they, too, can exercise their creative muscles.
- In a related vein, he identifies the three phases of the creative process as inspiration, action and analysis. He is quite good at discussing the importance of analysis or the role of the left side of the brain in creative activity. Analysis doesn’t necessarily mean critiquing an idea so much as it does reorganizing it, reworking it or otherwise modifying it as it works its way towards being ready to share with the world.
- He gives a number of excellent tips for activating one’s creativity – including talking a walk, spending time in nature, and intentionally exercising one’s imagination (aka daydreaming). He places special emphasis on engaging in “active entertainment” such as going to an art show or a live concert, saying that,
“When we attend a concert … there is something going on behind the scenes that we cannot see … There is something nonphysical, in the realm of energy and emotion, that engages our senses, uplifts us, and in most cases causes us to leave the event somewhat different than when we arrived.”
Overall, “The 20-20 Creativity Solution” is a delight. Well-written, interesting, personal and practical, it covers far more bases than most creativity books do, and John does it in fewer pages than most! It would make a great gift for someone testing the waters of their creative impulses, as well as experienced artists or innovators looking for additional tips and tools to keep their creative flow strong and steady.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t tell you when to purchase a book, just that this book is well worth the $16.97 the publisher (Three Creeks Publishing) is asking. But if you purchase the book by this Thursday, Aug. 5, you’ll get a FREE packet of bonus goodies!
The “launch package” includes a printed copy of the book, plus great digital downloads such as
- More than 40 song downloads contributed by artists interviewed on the “Art of the Song” show, including Cosy Sheridan, Holly Near, Arlene Kole, Freebo, Ellis Paul, Randall Williams, Marc Black, and many more!
- A 50-minute audio compilation of “Art of the Song” interviews, with excerpts from talks with Bruce Cockburn, Eliza Gilkyson, Arlo Guthrie, and many more.
- Guided meditation exercises from both Viv Nesbitt and Dr. Judith Wilcox, psychotherapist, teacher, and founder of the Wilcox Healing Center.
- A creativity tip sheet with block-dissolving ideas contributed by songwriters interviewed on John and Viv’s radio show.
The value of the launch extras are estimated at more than $150. It’s a great deal!