Innovation is about creativity and so is today’s blog. Our recent release of my book An Angel’s Promise on Amazon’s Kindle, reminded me of the story of how this book came to be published. I had to overcome several common obstacles to creativity. Let me explain….

In kindergarten, we received a report card each semester. Satisfactory progress was indicated by a check mark next to the subject. If not, it was a minus sign. On my first report card, I got all checks except three minuses in “cutting, pasting and coloring.”

What were the consequences of these “poor” grades?” I quickly developed a strong distaste for classes related to art. This grew to include all the fine arts and even creative writing. In a junior high art class, they tried to teach us how to paint, mold clay and the like. I hated the class and it hated me. I couldn’t wait for the semester to end. I was good at math, so I focused on math and sciences.

Later in life, I had good friend who was a very successful writer. He invited me to write a book with him, non-fiction. I knew something about the subject, so I agreed. This was a good experience, and people even bought a lot of copies. We tried another book, semi-fiction, made up of incidents from our childhoods. It was actually fun and again, we sold many copies.

With both books, my friend guided the process, but let me take the lead. He was very supportive. When I sent him a draft, he’d say something like, “This is great. You’re catching on. I do have a few ideas.”

Next, I suggested we write a Christmas book. He said, “I’ve already written a Christmas book. You write it, and I’ll help.” I took the challenge to write fiction. I sat down in a soft chair then struggled to imagine a new Christmas story. After a couple of hours, I was stumped. I remembered my kindergarten curse and wondered if I could do anything really creative.

A few weeks later, I decided to make one last attempt. Clearing my head, I played soothing Enya music in the background and tried again. I stared at the computer, thinking and waiting. Suddenly, from out of nowhere a voice came into my mind. It started dictating a story. To say I was surprised, even shocked, would understate my feelings. I had the presence of mind to begin typing:

“Four-hundred years ago in the city of London a street urchin was stopped by a woman dressed in white. She said she was an angel of mercy who desperately needed his help. The crown prince of all England had been kidnapped by enemies of the crown and only the boy could rescue him….”

I was startled, but I had heard something about a muse inside our heads. I thought mine had died in infancy. I continued listening and typing. In about three weeks the story, An Angel’s Promise was finished. We had to hurry. It was almost Thanksgiving. We rushed the manuscript to the printer. In less than a week it was ready. An Angel’s Promise was accepted in many bookstores across several states before Thanksgiving. As it turned out, it sold very well.

Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, wrote this about An Angel’s Promise: “Beautifully written! A treasury of inspiring moral lessons and stirring human insights that will touch your heart. A great gift.”

From my writing experience, I discovered 4 Important Keys to Creativity
1. False notions of our talents and gifts often hold us back.
2. The voices in our heads can be changed from, “You can’t do this. Remember your kindergarten report card” into, “Four-hundred years ago in the city of London….”
3. Creativity is both a gift and a skill. It can be discovered, developed and improved. I’ve learned this for myself, and you can, too!
4. If you have a good mentor, things will go a lot better. So find one, be one or do both.

And finally, if you want to have a great Christmas read, check out An Angel’s Promise on Amazon click here.