CREATIVITY IS BRAVERY.
For some people, the idea of being creative causes sweaty palms. It can be terrifying to face an empty page (either physical or on a computer screen). The Post-Impressionist painter Henri Matisse said it concisely: “Creativity takes courage.”
So, my first piece of advice regarding creativity is to just start. Get going. Write something. Anything. String together a thought. Then another. And another.
I constantly surprise myself with what I come up with when I sit down to write. I tend to dither when I think about creating; it’s in the actual typing that inspiration (Pro Tip 6) comes. To quote Nike, “Just do it.”
Pay attention to the voice in your head that leads from one sentence to the next. Process and progress—not paralysis—are the goals. Don’t worry if what you write is crap; give yourself a “junk draft” (Pro Tip 12).
Creativity isn’t about sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike; it’s about hunkering down and getting to work.
As Stephen King observes in his autobiography and how-to guide, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft: “The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.”
The first element of effective writing is to author a piece that is creative.
I don’t mean this in the sense of creative writing as we learned it in school, but rather that you should produce work that has variety, originality, and imagination.
For those who worry they can’t do that, take heed of what designer Frederick Terral is credited with saying in his “Manifesto”:
You may not be a Picasso or Mozart, but you don’t have to be. Just create to create. Create to remind yourself you’re still alive. Make stuff to inspire others to make something too. Create to learn a bit more about yourself.
Still afraid you can’t? Remember, as Albert Einstein put it:
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
I’ll give the last word to poet Maya Angelou:
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
2. Tell Tales.
3. Create Concepts.
4. Construct Structure.
5. Coin Names.
6. Seek Inspiration.
7. Hone Your Voice.
8. Contain Crazy.
9. Think Well.
10. Get to Work.