Some Thoughts On Creativity

The topic of creativity has come up a lot in my reading, both in books and online, and in some of the podcasts I frequently listen to. Here’s some thoughts on the subject:

1. Morning Pages

Julia Cameraon, in her book THE ARTIST’S WAY, writes about 2 basic tools she advocates for creatives. From her website:

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing,
done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*–
they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about
anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes
only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and
synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put
three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.

She recommends these as a form of “recovery”, but I think that even more than aiding with recovery, they help clear the mind of all of the minutia that can clutter up our thoughts and block our creativity. If you want a quick way to improve your daily creative output, this is one that I highly recommend.

2. Constant, Consistent Output

The more you do something, the easier it becomes, until it becomes habit. Want to be a writer? Write every day. Want to learn to play the guitar? Practice every day. The amount of output isn’t important when you’re just starting out. Maybe it’s a page count or 1000 words, or learning one new chord, but at least for the first few weeks you need to just do something every day. 5 minutes, 2 minutes, whatever, just do it every day. You can use apps like COMMIT or LIFT to help track your progress and help you get excited to extend that streak.

3. Calculate Less

Creativity should be an outlet for you to express or convey things, or get things out, or share what’s inside you. Art especially has a way of communicating things that words and language can’t. The thing that will kill creativity the fastest are thoughts of “what will people think”, or “what is trendy right now” or even “I’ll sell more if…”

All of these thoughts should be put away for a different time in the creative process. When you’re actually creating, you need to silence those thoughts as quickly as the arise. There is a time and place for them, especially if your livelihood depends on the sales from your work, but that should be part of your business model, not your creative process.

So, next time you sit down to create, if you are feeling blocked, write out a few pages of whatever is on your mind, just to clear the channel. If your work isn’t resonating how you’d like it to, maybe it’s because there is a disconnect between why  you’re creating it and who you’re creating it for. If you’re doing it for money, it will resonate less with your audience or your customers.

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