Creativity 101: How I Am Like Robert Downey Jr.

6773980776Working hard in a creative field can sometime feel like…well…work. In my own experience, there is no substitute for consistency, hard work, 1000 words a day. These things accumulate and become more than the sum of their parts. The words take on substance. I start to see not just the words but also the spaces between.

But even devotion has its dangers. Sometimes, these long continuous periods of creativity dig deep inside of us, and ruts begin to form, unnoticed at first but eventually effective. Work starts to feel less and less like spreading seeds over fertile ground and more and more like taking a day’s worth of seeds, digging a small hole, and piling them all in one spot. And covering them up.

Something I’ve recently discovered about creativity is that it thrives in variety. I’ve discovered this by commandeering my daughter’s paint set she got for Christmas (as well as one of her canvases), and painting my first acrylic painting. It’s terrible, but that’s not the point. The point is that when I engage in other creative efforts, things shift inside of my brain. Old ruts are filled in with inexperience and innocence and the scattering only a novice can initiate.

So try something different. Paint. Write a poem. Carve a piece of wood.

Or sing with Sting:

4 Replies to “Creativity 101: How I Am Like Robert Downey Jr.”

  1. That’s exactly why I’m sitting here cutting, folding, trying paper cardinals while trying to read this post. My fingers need to do more than just dance across a keyboard, my mind needs the color and texture. And then, later, I’m going to re-pot a plant and hopefully not put my back out in the process (old, age – you know how it is). Oh, that and the Ukulele, that’s my “painting” during this season. So glad you’re having fun.

  2. “It’s terrible, but that’s not the point.” That very well could be my life mantra right now. I am both voluntarily and involuntarily trying out new things every day it seems, and truly, it is some kind of powerful when it comes to opening up creative veins. Great thoughts here, Shawn.

    1. Thanks, Megan. Personally, I’m not a big of being terrible at things, but there’s all kinds of stuff to take away from those activities.

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