How creativity happens.
And how anyone can access it.
Creativity is viewed by a lot of us as a spectrum, anchored on one side by terribly uncreative and anchored on the other side by creative genius.
The closer you are to terribly uncreative the more likely you are to believe that creativity is an innate gift that you simply don’t have.
Yet those who view themselves closer to creative genius almost certainly recognize how much of the creative process is rooted in systems, routines, and doing the boring work.
It can seem bland, if not offensive, to boil creativity down to something as dry as “another skill”.
But when you read about the routines of history’s greatest creatives and the work of creativity, you realize that we can’t all be creative geniuses but we certainly can increase our creative skill and access to creativity when we need it.
Steven Pressfield compares creativity to a river running beneath the ground under our feet.
To extend that idea, I like to view creativity as a water table lying dormant underground. Our job is to build a well and get the water. And it requires two things.
The willingness to drill the well.
It’s manual. It’s exhausting. It’s boring. But it’s also necessary. This is the bulk of “creativity” in my opinion. It’s the willingness to have bad ideas, and a lot of them. It’s the willingness to look at the problem-to-be-solved from different angles, preferably ones that don’t come naturally. It’s the willingness to sit there when the ideas aren’t coming and beat your head against the (proverbial or literal) table until they do.
The willingness to take action when the creativity does flow.
When creativity is finally flowing back to us, it’s on us to mobilize it somewhere useful. We don’t want it to pour from the well, only to be reabsorbed into ground. Ideas need to be taken out of our minds and onto paper so we can poke, prod, and test them. Getting them out of our heads into a more tangible format is the only way to do something more useful with them.
Creativity isn’t just for writers. Or painters. Or musicians. Or creative geniuses.
Creativity moves companies forward. Creativity solves hard problems with elegance. Creativity navigates tough circumstances. Creativity gives hope.
And creativity is the well of wisdom that we all have access to, so we can direct it into our own form of art.
If you find value in the things I publish here, it’d mean the world if you’d share it with someone else. It’s the only way this space and community continues to grow.
✌️ and ❤️,