After Reading: The Creative Act

A call to embrace the creative process: the continuous cycle of sourcing, crafting, and sharing.

After Reading: The Creative Act

This book had a lot of fluff in it, mostly around Rick’s spiritual experience creating art. Those parts were colorful, but not super valuable to me.

But the book had a great layout of the creative process: the sourcing, crafting, evolution, and completion of a single piece. And how all that should be viewed as a continuous cycle. This is what has been rolling around in my head after reading it.

The completion of a cycle and the benefits inherent to finishing and sharing a work resonated with me the most. The idea that completing is actually what fuels you to start another work. That not completing and not sharing a piece is what actually saps your energy.

Often, I feel sapped of energy when creating - both at work and at home - and attribute it to doing difficult work (or work I don’t want to do). But I think I can see now that my creative energy is sourced from the difficult work: as long as I’m finishing and releasing it.

A river of material flows through us. When we share our works and our ideas, they are replenished. If we block the flow by holding them all inside, the river cannot run and new ideas are slow to appear.

Publish to replenish.

Even just recently, in publishing my travel logs, I held on to the pieces for too long. I wanted everything to be perfect, I had more ideas to assemble and include. But doing so was sapping more and more of my energy - and getting further and further away from the core idea of what I wanted to share. I hesitated to publish, but as soon as I did so, a flood of support came in along with brand new ideas that energized me.

Similarly, at work, I often have an idea for an architectural change to the software or change to how teams work, and I am so self-energized to begin crafting the design. And in working with others to perfect it, momentum is gradually lost until the idea is nearly complete but lacking the final touches to get it out. And that’s what saps my energy the most - having the work sit unpublished or misaligned.

I’m going to focus on completing and sharing each piece as it nears a finish, to keep the energizing flywheel turning and prevent the energy suck of unpublished creations.


View all highlights/notes I made about this book

I’d recommend this book to anyone who creates things for work or pleasure - anyone who has found themselves stuck on an idea they want to share. Read this and you’ll feel empowered to share.