Three Ways That Creativity Is Like Taking Out the Trash

I find that the people who tend to romanticize the creative process are like gentleman farmers: They never get their hands dirty.  But that’s not what creativity is really like.  It’s all about the dirt.Creating is magical, but treating it like a simple trick is dangerous because it perpetuates the notion that it is an easy, smooth or straightforward process.  It’s not.  You need to have a spirit of play when you create, but you also need the discipline of work.When I have a patient who is struggling to make work (these are often writers who are reluctant to revisit a manuscript), I tend to liken creating to taking out the trash in three ways (I’m just full of analogies tonight.  Forgive me.  It is late and I want to post this tomorrow before I start my day):First, you have to do it frequently or it gets harder and less pleasant.Second, many times you don’t notice the value of doing it until things start to smell like old sushi and diapers.

Third, even if you don’t get it all done today, even getting some small part of it done gives you a sense of accomplishment and the feeling that you are pushing forward.

(I think all of those can be applied to both creativity and taking out the trash, but again, it’s late and as I read it over it seems to make sense to me, so I’m going to go with it).

So, with summer unofficially over, it’s time to create again. For those of you who put it off during June, July and August in order to attend the weddings and barbecues, it’s time.  Pick up your tools: Dust off the manuscript, break out the dj equipment, find your camera, Play-Doh, paintbrush, concrete mixer, or spreadsheet. This is your season to create.

This article was originally published on Psychology Today

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