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Routine, Creativity and President Obama’s U.N. Speech

…creative people organize their lives according to repetitive, disciplined routines. They think like artists but work like accountants. “I know that to sustain these true moments of insight, one has to be highly disciplined, lead a disciplined life,” Henry Miller declared.

David Brooks examines the irony of creative thinking, concluding that while creatives think different they also do so every day.  Such repetition mimics the rigidity of other jobs such as accounting.  Creativity is therefore predictable for the sake of inculcating different thinking.

As Maya Angelou said: 

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou

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Arts Creativity Productivity & Work

Building Creativity

Creativity builds off itself.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

Maya Angelou

What you’re creating doesn’t even have to be good, certainly not in the beginning. That’s not the point. The point is to start creative work to inculcate the habit of thinking differently and having something to show for it.

“The most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work.”

Ira Glass

Since it can be hard to think of new ideas off the bat, the best way to start creating is to simply copy others. Re-draw that Monet piece. Copy the prose of your favorite writer. Try to get into the mind and shoes of an artist you admire. After copying for a while, you’ll soon to develop your own voice.

The more you create, the more you’ll have to play with. You can showcase your best work while refining your old. You can be learning new techniques to integrate into your existing skill set. The palette is indefinite.

Once you choose yourself and do the work, people start to look at you like the artist they admire. So keep creating, even on the days you don’t feel it. Keep building the creative muscle.

PS: Here’s some advice if you get stuck.

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Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.

Maya Angelou

Still my other favorite.

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Ain’t nothin’ to it, but to do it.

— Maya Angelou
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Create more than you capture

Listening is an essential part of learning. But then we need to do the work.

Clarity comes from recreation. The only way to understand something is to redo it.

Writing something out is a great way to summarize thoughts. There are also other ways to connect the dots: speaking out loud, mind-mapping, sketching, and walking with a quiet mind.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

Maya Angelou

Recreating is learning. There’s no better way to learn something than to try to teach it:  to yourself, to others, to an imaginary friend, or the mirror.

Do it by doing it.

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Nothing will work unless you do.

— Maya Angelou
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You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

Maya Angelou

Creativity builds on top of creativity.