Creative listing is a core creative exercise. It  establishes and maps your creative intentions. Use it whenever you are setting up a new creative intention. When it’s time to begin again, at the start of a new year, maybe, or a new phase.  Whenever you need to connect, or reconnect, with what you most truly want.


1. Frame your intention like this:

I am going to create _________  by _________, the first blank being what you are going to create the second the date by which you will create.

2. Visualize your intention and take care in writing it out. Write as if you are placing an order for the intention to be manufactured by somebody who doesn’t know you, and doesn’t quite understand what you’re talking about. Make your description as clear and as detailed as you can.

Visualization is a hugely important part of the process. The more clear, vivid and exciting to you, and the more emotional energy you bring, the better. Cultivate the feeling of already having what you’re creating. A mental picture of what you want, combined with an emotion around house would feel to have it, has a deep impact on your subconscious mind and your creative capacity.

3.  Identify your challenges. Why haven’t you created this already? If you find all your answers to this question involves other people, you need to turn your attention around to yourself. You may find it easy to see how others don’t help, or outer circumstances get in the way,  but at least 80% of the reason is actually you. Some change you need to make. Always start with you.

TRY THIS: The thing you want to create: give it a voice.  Let it F-R-E-E-Write a letter to you, telling you what it thinks of you, what it needs from you.

4. Identify knowledge information and skills you are going to need.

5.  Identify supportive others who can help.  Family, friends, colleagues, customers… anyone who is likely to support you. Ask yourself: what can you bring to them?

6. Think in terms of work, rest and play activities. What’s the ideal combinations for you, as you set out to create this new thing in your life.

7.  Now make the master creative list.  Take a blank sheet of paper and divided into three columns: work, rest and play.  Now list everything you need to fulfill your intention, under one of those headings: the knowledge and skills, the inner work and other people.

Now, read back over this list with two highlighter pens, orange and green.

  • Color those those that are most desirable, most pressing and would make the most difference in orange.
  • Color in green those you know to be nice-to-haves, sometime soon.

How many do you have in the orange category? You are aiming for seven. Seven things you can do in the short term,  with at least one in each of the three categories of work, rest and play.

(One of the work, rest and play categories will dominate for you. For most people this tends to be the work category. If you don’t consciously balance work with rest and play, life will ensure that you do by making you tired, or ill. If you’re a bad case, you’ll be struck with something more serious. See post on Creative Balance here)

For your Bird’s Eye Map, you’re looking for big desires, something you figure will take you a year or so to create: I want to create a book. I want to create a regular sleep pattern. I want to create a three-month stay in Bali. I want to create a happy family. I want to create a yoga practice. I want to create an online business that will allow me to leave my boring job…

6. Now F-R-E-E-Write about your lists, writing fast, raw and exact-but-easy about the process, and the wants, needs and notions that arose as you made your lists and framed the sentences of creative intention. Focus on one question as you F-R-E-E-Write: “What do I most truly want to create?”

7. Now, add to your lists anything that emerged in the F-R-E-E-Writing process. Settle on your seven, in each category. Transfer them across to the Bird’s Eye View maps: see below.

Creative Mapping: Year/Work

Creative Mapping: Year/Rest

Creative Mapping: Year/Play