Creativity is a concept that fascinates me. It has always seemed so elusive to my left brained, analytical self. Creativity. “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.” Creating something from scratch, a thing that didn’t exist before. I equated creativity to painted works of art and fiction books, and I felt like I’d never have any ideas worthy of either pursuit.
This was until I read The art of asking by Amanda Palmer, who introduced me to the idea that creativity is simply just connecting the dots in a way that hasn’t been done before. This then lead me on to reading many things about how to generate ideas, how to look for ideas in the ordinary, and how to connect the dots in new ways.
13 things I’ve learned about creativity…
- You have to work for the muse to show up. Whether the ideas you generate are good or bad, you must show up and do the work. You can’t wait for the muse to strike, you must show up, then she will come. Maybe. (Steven Pressfield)
- You must generate a lot of ideas, knowing that most of them will be junk. The more ideas you generate, the more you’ll generate. Spend time working your idea muscle. The more you work it, the stronger it gets. (James Altucher)
- If you don’t execute your idea, does it even exist as an idea? Ideas are ok, but implementing your ideas are even better. (Gary Vee but he’s a whole lot more sweary than me.)
- Ship it and move on. Perfectionism kills creativity. Ship your work and then move on to the next project. (Seth Godin)
- The shame of unworthiness. There seems to be a stigma around being creative or artistic, it’s not worthwhile, or important. If you want to do it, then do it. Screw others and be true to yourself. (For more on shame, check out Brene Browns everythings).
- Not having the confidence to have a go. Does this sound familiar “I can’t”, “I shouldn’t”, “I couldn’t possibly”? (This is the one that I’m fighting. All. The. Time)
- Be authentically you. Spend time getting to know yourself, only then can you find your creativity.
- Be curious instead of passionate. Follow your curiosity down whatever rabbit hole takes your fancy, noting the dots along the way. (Elizabeth Gilbert – listen to the Big Magic audiobook read by Liz. Ah-mazing)
- Build new habits, 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – Go. Don’t let your lizard brain stop you doing the thing. It only takes 5 seconds to talk yourself out of doing the things you want to do. (Mel Robbins – listen to the audio book 5 second rule read by Mel, another fab listen).
- Becoming good at any worthwhile task takes work and time. There’s no quick fixes or bandaids that can make you great at anything.
- Work smarter. Don’t keep plugging away doing the same old thing, if you can do things in a smarter way. (Tim Ferriss is the master of smarter, faster)
- Make space to hear the muse. Turn off the socials, turn off the music, podcasts and tv. Just be. Just think. Just listen. Do a menial task, take a walk or a shower. And let your mind follow the dots, connecting in random places.
- My final thing: the resistance is real. That invisible thing that doesn’t want you to succeed. Steven Pressfield has a book on how to beat it.
Which one of these is kicking your arse right now?