Learning To Be Creative
And how not to torture yourself
What do you do when you’ve set yourself a creative challenge, and within days you’re stumped and don’t know what to put out?
It’s not that I’m trying to create a masterpiece every single day, I’m a beginner after all. All I want is to put out a piece I’m proud of, or at least content with.
I don’t want to put out something mediocre that will not only fall flat but isn’t helpful or creatively fulfilling.
In moments like these, when I'm looking at the empty page, hands on the keyboard, is when I remember the 5-second rule, or more so the idea of it.
To simply start typing.
The point of the challenge I’ve set myself (a 100 days of writing) is to cultivate consistency, flow, and accountability.
However, for the sake of rapid growth, I thought I’d push myself and see how I would handle the challenge. Will I buckle within the first few weeks, or will I learn to tap into creativity?
As much as I would love for someone to give me a step by step guide on how to become a successful writer, I know I need to carve this myself.
Yes, there are tools that will help me. Yes, there are success stories I can learn from. Yes, there are tried and tested ways of idea generation.
What I’ve been learning is that you need to be interesting, intelligent, and charismatic — all skills that can be developed.
When you cultivate intelligence and true education, you allow yourself to create new neural pathways and generate new thoughts and ideas. If you apply creativity to that, those ideas can continue to branch out and flourish.
Add charisma to the equation and now you have a personal story developed through education.
You cultivate creativity by expanding how much you know about the world ad taking the information you’ve learned and applying it to your circumstances.
We can be our own harshest critic when it comes to our Life story. It’s important to check-in and see, are you really boring and have nothing to say, or are you undermining yourself?
Remember, boring people don’t think they’re boring.
All perspectives are interesting if worded properly and thoroughly enough.
The Learning Game
I’m on my 6th day of writing, and here are a few insights:
Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working
A great quote by Pablo Picasso, which I first heard from Liz Gilbert.
Inspiration is a godsend. The times when you’re so overtaken by something beautiful that you simply need to get out a pen and paper and get it out of you while you still can.
Ever sit on the side of the road during a music festival aggressively writing out a piece on the small notepad you had with yourself?
I don’t yet know if sometimes or most of the time — you have to invite it. You have to show that you’re just as willing to show up as she is. You’re willing to come in early and get everything ready for her.
You simply have to take action before you think you can.
You may see yourself uninteresting and with nothing to say — remember all the times you’ve helped somebody
This is something I keep going back and forth on with both my writing and my videos.
How is it that someone who loves talking and can be pretty damn good at it, struggles so hard to write and say the same things on camera?
I’ve caught myself giving speeches and good pieces of advice to people with such passion, clarity, and vigour, that I’d think I would be good on camera.
Nope. Not even close.
In times like these, I do my best to remember all the people who’s stories, said on camera or written, have helped me. I try to imagine one person that I might help by putting out my art.
I try to imagine talking to a very dear friend who needs my aid with the same level of compassion and enthusiasm I always deliver.
It doesn’t take away the lack of experience or confidence, but it helps make it easier.
Trusting your hands to carry you forward, and your mind to keep it up
There’s something about the simple physical act of just starting that has been helping me get my thoughts out on paper.
Simply sitting back and letting my brain vomit words and hope that they might make sense, and if they don’t — edit.
As a perfectionist, you tend to overthink and worry about a bridge that is a thousand miles away, when you’re on mile three. There’s a reason the saying “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it” is so popular.
Focusing on what you can do now, instead of what’s gonna happen in the future is what keeps you going. Taking it one day at a time. Not planning out your entire career in a day, but simply taking it step-by-step and adapting as you go.
If I had to think of a 100 good ideas to write about before I started this challenge, I would never start. I would drop writing altogether.
It’s about finding enjoyment in the process on a day-to-day basis, and tackling the challenges of the day, instead of trying to predict every single thing that might go wrong mid-way.
Progress, not perfection
And finally, the one thing that’s kept me sane and continuing to develop my art and putting it out.
Doing what I can to the best of my abilities TODAY.
Yes, I will learn so many lessons and hopefully (as in most likely) will be absolutely embarrassed a year later over whatever I put out today. In order for that to happen, in order for me to come to that level, I need to put out the bad work today.
Before you can be great, you first have to be shit.
And it’s about getting all the crap out of your system in order to let the beauty flow.
See it as unclogging a drain — you have to get all the gunk out, clean it out, and then you can have clean water flowing.
The same applies to your art. Get motivated about being utter shite at whatever you’re starting, because on the other side is something beautiful waiting to be found.
With every piece you put out you get incrementally better.
Giant leaps begin with small steps.