The Sneak

October 16, 2012

Today while driving to work, I heard a story about cheese and how it helped one man think up the picture-in-picture feature for television! “How bizarre,” you might think. “Why would cheese help him do this? It has nothing to do with tv!”

photo by Big D2112

 Exactly! Let me explain.

So, the whole concept is to think of a random object to help you come up with ideas for what you are presently working on. I call it, “The Sneak.” It helps to get your mind to a place where it is able to move, spread out, and breathe. But, the odd thing is this place cannot be approached directly.

We have all been there, you are in the shower and, out of the blue a great idea pops into your head. Or, you are out running and BAM you find the answer you were looking for without even trying to. Why then when we sit down at our desks or computers, all the great ideas seem to vanish?

I have found, and apparently many other have as well, when I focus directly on something I am trying to create, it often sits just out of my sight. I see it as a shadow, but cannot identify its form. It is right there. But then when I look at it, poof, it disappears.

However, when I let my mind focus on it indirectly, when I take “The Sneak” approach, I walk into the idea or solution like fog. Suddenly it surrounds me, but don’t try to grab it too fast! It will dissipate.

Let me give you an example.

When I write, if I sit down at the computer and stare at it and think, “What should I write about now?” I can’t think of a single thing to write! However, if I just start writing, not even directly thinking about the words which are tumbling out through my fingers, my mind eventually lands on the words that want to come out.

Sometimes I find myself hardly looking at the screen during this time. I feel like a hunter. I must be quick, but incredibly gently and quiet.

The words come out fast at first. They twist and turn and tangle often forming  a great big nothing. They just sit there unformed. But suddenly without warning, they start to form and I see not just a shadow but an idea that I resonate with and I think “Yes, that is what has been tumbling around in my mind and heart!” I am able to then begin my writing.

I am able to access that part of my brain which seems to spin on its heels and run when put under strict demands to create. I am able to write.

It was the same for the man with the cheese. It is the same reason why some of our best ideas come in the shower or while exercising or while driving down a new road. It is a beautiful place but can often only be found as one who stumbles upon a breathtaking view while wandering off the well-worn trail.

Question: Have you ever used “The Sneak” to help you in your creative pursuits?


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  • Reply Ann Musico October 16, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Absolutely Claudia.  My book, Today’s the Day, came to me as I was walking the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge!  I wasn’t thinking about writing a book, just enjoying the amazing view over the water and getting fresh air and exercise and all of a sudden the ideas just filled my mind.  I remember wishing I had a pad and pen – but I wrote everything as quickly as I could the minute I got back to the car.  Often answers to problems or things I’m just trying to figure out come while I’m driving and listening to tapes.  I think I need to invest in a tiny recorder I can use when inspiration hits lol!

    • Reply Claudia Good October 16, 2012 at 4:44 pm

      Ahhhhh ahahaa! I know they come at the oddest times. Were you even thinking of writing a book at that point Ann??
      The tiny recorder is a great idea! I’ll have to remember that, thanks 🙂

      • Reply Ann Musico October 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm

         Honestly, Claudia, I wasn’t even thinking about that! 

        • Reply Claudia Good October 16, 2012 at 8:51 pm

          Ha! Wow. That is makes an even greater story! 😉

  • Reply Chris Peek October 16, 2012 at 10:29 am

    This happens all the time with me. Usually ideas just appear while walking, hiking, reading, listening to a podcast, showering, or even after sleeping. I’ve quit sitting at the computer waiting for a blog post or creative idea to just hit me. It never works. Usually, I write the post in my mind when I least expect it.

    • Reply Claudia Good October 16, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      Totally Chris!!
      Do you ever wake up with ideas through the night? I know some people do… I never did till I was up through the night with Jude and then they would come flooding!

      Talking about hiking, how is your hiking going?

      Hi to Karen and babeee 😉

      • Reply Chris Peek October 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm

        I don’t really wake up in the middle of the night with ideas, but as you shared with your experiences with Jude, that could change soon.  Mine usually hit me the next morning, like my subconscious mind has been churning in my sleep. 

        As far as hiking goes, my plan is to hit North Carolina this weekend. I hope to head up your way in November, if it works out! 

        I’ll be sure to say hi to Karen and the little one! 🙂

        • Reply Claudia Good October 16, 2012 at 9:27 pm

          Awesome Chris! 
          So excited for you guys!!! Yea you might be up a couple times through the night 😉 so keep your pen handy.

  • Reply Ryan Ash October 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Excellent post, Claudia! This is so true. I usually have to do like you, and just start doing something. At least “Activator” is one of my strengths, so it makes it come a little easier.

    • Reply Claudia Good October 16, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      Yes Ryan! Anything, just get moving right?! 

      I can definitely see that you are an activator, you act on your ideas and make things happen which is a great strength to have! 
      Hey, talking about great ideas, how are you enjoying your idea board?

      Hi to Ashley… hope she is feeling better!!

      • Reply Ryan Ash October 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm

        Lol! Well, it’s up and has one thing written on it. That has kind of been the furthest thing from our mind the last couple of weeks.

        • Reply Claudia Good October 16, 2012 at 8:50 pm

          hmmmm I understand!!! Get Ashley better and that baby here safely!! Blessings Ryan!

          • Ryan Ash October 17, 2012 at 8:01 am

            We’re working on it. Thanks!

  • Reply Jody Berkey October 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Steve often wakes up in the morning with solutions to problems he’s been trying to figure out.  I joke and tell him that he can’t even not work on the business when he’s sleeping.  

    Your post reminded me about a sermon I heard a few years ago at our old church about creating margin in our lives.  This margin provides for flex time to say yes to something or someone, be still and listen, or just appreciate our blessings more.  It came at a time in our lives when we were crazy busy chasing the American Dream and had very little margin.  Great timing! 

    Here’s the link if you’re interested: http://www.fairfaxvideos.com/sermons/margin/part2

    • Reply Claudia Good October 16, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      Funny! So, Steve is busy working even in his sleep huh!? I felt the same way over the past year except I was actually waking up with Jude not solving problems while sleeping. It is so interesting he is able to solve the problems while actually sleeping!  I wonder how that works?! 

      Thanks for the link Jody! Looking forward to listening! 😉
      Hope the wedding was a blast!

  • Reply James Dibben October 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I finally got the iPhone 5 last week.

    I am loving the voice features with this version of the phone. I’ve been able to catalog a lot of blogging ideas while I’m driving by simply creating ‘to do’ items with a quick blurb of what I’m thinking.

    I’m really excited about something this convenient to work from. Most of my ideas come while I’m driving to work but the first two hours of work manage to clean my brain out and I can’t remember anything from the drive.

    I’m getting old or something!

    • Reply Claudia Good October 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm

      hahaaa James,
      Maybe that time of day is just when your brain is most active in the creative area! I love that you will be able to use your phone to catalog your ideas… driving isn’t exactly the best time to write so this is a great solution! 😉 

      The day that I work away from home is the day I find it hardest to write. Maybe because I don’t get any down time like I do when I am here??

      Do you listen to anything on your commute James?

      • Reply James Dibben October 16, 2012 at 4:43 pm

        I listen to quite a bit.

        I haven’t missed an Andy Stanley sermon in 4 years: http://bluecollarliving.com/journal-faker

        I also listen to James MacDonald with Harvest Bible Chapel.

        I have a few regular podcasts I keep up on. Entreleadership, In The Loop and Andy Stanley Leadership.

        I usually hear something by either James MacDonald or Andy Stanley that give me a little rabbit trail I can write something about. Hopefully I’ll be able to capture more of these thoughts and get some content written.

        • Reply Claudia Good October 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm

          Love Andy Stanley’s stuff! 
          Entreleadership rocks too! I’ll have to check out James MacDonald, I haven’t heard of him, thanks! Always looking for more people to learn from!

          Hey, your site looks great! It looks like you are getting some great interaction over there! How do you feel it is going?

          • James Dibben October 16, 2012 at 9:09 pm

            Which site? I have three now, lol.




          • Claudia Good October 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm

            hahaa! wow, they all look good! I was talking about bluecollarliving 🙂

          • James Dibben October 16, 2012 at 11:09 pm

            Oh, lol. Well, it’s actually picking up nicely. Seems to be a combination of old content getting more traffic as well as the new stuff getting more reads.

            I’m enjoying the conversations we are having here on idea tracking. Hopefully it will help me write more consistently across all thee sites.

          • Claudia Good October 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm

            That is awesome! It is always encouraging to see more traffic.

            Idea tracking… love the term! hmmmm

  • Reply Michael Wright October 20, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Walking, showers, driving – all activities that take some “light thinking” free up the right side of the brain to brew up some good stuff.

    • Reply Claudia Good October 20, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      Light thinking… yes, that is what it is Michael! Exactly. 

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