Creativity is a process - How to be more creative in life

Once you understand that creativity is merely deliberate practice and skill, the next step you need is a good system.

Creativity is a process - How to be more creative in life
Creativity is a process, not an event. It’s not just a eureka moment. You have to work through mental barriers and internal blocks. You have to commit to practicing your craft deliberately. And you have to stick with the process for years, perhaps even decades like Newton did, in order to see your creative genius blossom. - James Clear

The one thing I've been learning about creativity is that while all of us are capable of being creative, not all of us practice it deliberately.

You have likely said these things before:

  • I'm not a writer
  • I not good at playing an instrument
  • I don't know how to dance
  • I can't draw
  • And the classic "I'm not creative!"

Yet, most of the things I've listed there are skills that are learnable. It takes deliberate practice, lots of practice and consistent practice over time that can help someone learn a 'creative' skill.

You can learn to be a better writer through deliberate practice, writing every day or doing something crazy like me - having a 100 day writing challenge.

All of this to say, claiming that “I’m just not the creative type” is a pretty weak excuse for avoiding creative thinking. - James Clear

C'mon, put in some effort if you want results

Deliberate practice also means a consistent effort to get better at honing your skills. It is not too different from Michael Jordan working on his weakest areas in practice in order to get good.

Once you understand that creativity is merely deliberate practice and skill, the next step you need is a good system.

James Clear had some good recommendations on how to be more creative. It would be worth your while to read some of his recommendations, my favorite of which is this:

Write more. For nearly three years, I published a new article every Monday and every Thursday at JamesClear.com. The longer I stuck with this schedule, the more I realized that I had to write about a dozen average ideas before I uncovered a brilliant one. By producing a volume of work, I created a larger surface area for a creative spark to hit me.

Here's my key takeaways:

  1. Set a simple system - James' simple goal is to publish every Monday and Thursday. This way he set himself a rhythm to write and publish. Ideas should and would come when you know you have to write
  2. Produce a volume of work - No great artist produces 100% quality artwork. There will be the crappy, weird and mangled experiments in uncovering what works and what ultimately comes out as art. Quantity is more important here, rather than quality.
  3. Consistency and time - James kept this schedule of writing for 3 years, producing 312 articles. And he didn't stop there. He reduced his publishing schedule but still continued a weekly pace. It is the consistency to keep publishing on top of doing it for a long period of time that produces his best work.

If you have ever read Atomic Habits, you could say that the book started with articles produced consistently over time. It all started with a simple creativity system.

A process of self-discovery

In my experience, it’s in the act of making things and doing our work that we figure out who we are.  - Austin Kleon

One thing I love about writing daily is it uncovers my talents, unearths my flaws and allows me to confront my ideas in my head. It allows me to figure out who I really am.

It is never about whether we are creative, it is never about whether we lack creative skills.

It is about dancing with our fears of what others might think. We do it because it shows us who we really are.

What creative endeavors have you taken part in lately?