First thoughts have tremendous energy. It is the way the mind first flashes on something.
As I read these words by Natalie Goldberg it strikes me how often I dismiss my first thoughts. Many times my body will literally thrum with excitement––that “tremendous energy”––as an idea or a way of weaving certain images and arguments together comes to me. These flashes often occur when I’m out walking. I’ll notice my pace pick up, my spine straighten, a rush of excitement. I long to return to the keyboards to make my thoughts real. And then, wham, by the time I get home my inner critic has squeezed the exuberance out me and filled my mind and heart with self-doubt.
So what to do?
Well, for starters, learn to write your first thoughts down despite the naysayer in your head. Tell your inner critic that you simply want to get your thoughts onto the page as quickly and as energetically as possible. Reassure your critic that you will not seek to share or publish these words until the critic has had a chance to edit them–at some later time. Don’t dismiss your critic from the process, just delay his or her involvement until your flash of brilliance has had a chance to be captured.
Every time you honor your “first flashes,” you honor your creative spirit. As you become adept at capturing your creative ideas on the page, your critic will learn that you won’t be humiliated or die of shame by speaking your truth. And you just might learn the same.