Deconstructing Creativity

Deconstructing Creativity

"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things." - Steve Jobs

I'm drawn to creativity as a process. I love how it manifests itself in so many different disciplines, industries and cultures. But the more I dig into it, the more my eyes are opened to the general framework that unites most every creative undertaking.

Try these:

1) Observe

Absorb from all around. Draw from inner dialogue. Pull from a song you heard or a book you're reading. Take a mental snapshot of the special way the light hit that tree or the way the first bite met your senses. A keen awareness of your existence provides fertile soil for creativity and creation. 

2) Detect

Decipher between the many stimuli that stir you each day. Pay careful attention to anything that crosses the mind multiple times. It may be a launching point or warrant further investigation. Archive ideas and inspiration as immediate means or subconscious ammo to draw upon as you enter your project. Are there mediums or genres that consistently motivate you? Are there experts or classics that draw your attention? 

3) Reflect

Meditate on whatever stands out. Why has it made an impact on you? What does it remind you of? Why have you latched onto it? What are the key components within the inspiration that you may be able to leverage in your portrayal? Chew on it and see where it goes.

4) Recycle

Make it your own. Bend it and flex it. Twist it into something new. Lead it down a new path. Throw it against the wall. Break it apart and add a few new ingredients. Add your fingerprints to the mix. 

5) Arrange

Add it all together half consciously, half haphazardly and watch what takes shape. Don't force it right now. Just begin to assemble what you've gathered.

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." - Ernest Hemingway

6) Refine

Edit. Trim the fat. Bring it home. Dial it in. Make your main point the main point. Is anything competing? What can you remove to shine the most light on the most important part?

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

7) Relay

Share it. Post it. Publish. Tweet it. Send it. Frame it. Toss it into the world to see how it flies.

“To do good, you actually have to do something.” - Yvon Chouinard

8) Repeat

Observe your project. Begin a new one.

“Don’t count on motivation; count on discipline.” – Jocko Willink


The magic happens when you decide to dive in.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!” - Goethe

Check out Abstract on Netflix (trailer above) or Chef's Table on Netflix, Make It Til You Make It by Brendan Leonard, or Killing Creative Blocks by my brother, illustrator/designer Timmy Ham (below).