The other day, I read this article by Bruce Nussbaum from Fast Company on living a creative life. This really hits home with me because I know that no matter what career I end up with, I want to be doing something where I can be creative each and every day. Nussbaum writes, “Creativity is in such demand today that when we apply for jobs, when we join organizations, or when we just meet other people, we are asked to present our creative selves. But we can’t do that unless we understand the nature of our own creativity, locate the sources of our originality, and have a language that explains our work. If you are one of the growing number of ‘creatives,’ or want to become one, you need to lead a creative life.”
The first step to living a creative life, according to Nussbaum, is to be mindful and disconnect. He writes, “Our time is spent responding, reacting to others or absorbing, taking in new information. But we often lack the space, the time, the moment to integrate that knowledge, connect those dots, generate that creativity. Slowing down and disconnecting provides that space. That’s why showers or lingering over that cup of coffee before starting off to work are good places to start your creative life.”
The second step is to understand and delve into the past: “Being mindful of the roots of your knowledge domain, your industry, your creative space can bring greater understanding–and more success–to your own creative efforts.” The third step is to be masterful of both knowledge and skills.
In a commencement address to the University of the Arts, Neil Gaiman gives these bits of advice to the graduating class:
- Say no to projects that take you further away from your creative goals
- Approach your creative labor with joy or else it becomes work
- Don’t be afraid of being wrong
- “Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art.”
I also love this manifesto on living a creative life. All good stuff that I’m filing away so that I continue to be reminded of it and reflect on my own creative life.