Creativity Doesn’t Come From Chaossss. It’s Actually Quite Boring.

I love the Joker as much as the next guy, but I’m sorry, being an “agent of chaos” doesn’t lead to creative output.

Too often we think that creativity or artistry has to come from some sort of chaotic freedom, you have to be unshackled by the norms and disciplines that the “rest of us” abide by.

We think that the creatives are these weird souls that need to operate in some twilight zone that’s neither understandable nor quantifiable.

I get it. Creativity is hard, and it’s easier to say it must be some “random” gift from above that only applies to the weirdos and artistic-types.

Easier, that is, than actually doing the work of being creative.

What is the work of being creative?

It’s surprisingly like every other kind of work: You set goals, boundaries, and deadlines. You show up, every day. You take breaks when you need to. You spend time researching and saturating yourself in your field.

Yes, your output won’t be as consistent and easily made as a McDonald’s happy meal.

But that doesn’t mean good creative work is some miracle, a lightning bolt, a shooting star, a rare comet that only shows up once a millennium.

You CAN have a creative career. You CAN produce creative material regularly. You CAN be a consistent creator.

How to be a consistent creator?

Consistently create.

Don’t wait for inspiration.

Let me be the quadrillionth person to say it: Write every day.

Create every day. Make whatever it is you make, every day.

And now, to conclude, here’s a series of other people’s statements that have guided me in my own creative journey over the years:

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.”

— William Faulkner (or did he?)

“80 percent of success is showing up.”

– Woody Allen (or did he?)

If you’re writing for two hours a day at a certain time, your brain will start to adapt and show up at that time, almost like muscle memory.

– From my notes on a webinar by Sameer Gardezi on Perfecting the Craft of screenwriting.

“Don’t get it right, just get it written.”

– James Thurber

“Everyone should write a blog, every day, even if no one reads it.”

– Seth Godin, the inspiration for this blog, read more about why he thinks this is a good idea – it’s a treasure trove of insight.