John-Paul Flintoff

How to challenge yourself creatively

You popped in! Splendid…

Just so you know, this page is only for people who subscribe to my emails. If you have stumbled in, and you're not on the list, I can only marvel at your gatecrashing aplomb, and wish I could offer you a drink.

Here, kick your shoes off and have a seat.

Because I need to tell you about Steve.

If you peer at this teeny tiny photo, from a course in improvisational theatre we did together, you'll see Steve standing just behind me:

In that moment, we were working in pairs to create stories in real time.

A game called What Comes Next?…

In that game, if we didn't like what our partner suggested, we had full permission to say “no!” with a smile, and offer something else.

That's quite a thing, you know. Most of us, in most parts of our life, don't get that kind of permission.

Don't tend to give it, either.

But anyway…

That's how I met Steve. On an impro course, with Keith Johnstone.

Making stuff up. Sometimes being funny. And sometimes making people tearful.

Since then, we've done a number of things together. Often, we push each other to do something that feels a bit scary.

Like, the time I fell on my face in Mexico, as I walked alongside some super-famous people, it was Steve who encouraged me to show the film of my humiliating tumble to an audience of 5,000.

Just beforehand the film started, I thought I might die.

But when 5,000 Mexicans laughed I felt much better.

Sometimes, I help Steve.

Once, he said: Hey, JP, I'm doing a busking book launch on the South Bank. Will you come and film it, and generally hold me to account?

I said, sure. But what do you mean?

He explained that he intended to launch his book on the world by busking – singing songs that he made up as he went along, to his own accompaniment on guitar, beside the Thames.

I had not heard of anybody else doing this.

And I could see in his face that Steve felt pretty uncomfortable about it.

But his book was all about creativity, so it felt only right and proper to do something like this.

I'll tell you what happened in the next post, tomorrow.

But the point I wanted to leave you with is this: we all need creative challenges, and we can all find somebody to help us out with them.

What creative challenge would YOU like to take on? And who will you ask to accompany you?

Leave a comment in the box below. Go on. Do it now!

More soon.

JP x