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Your Elusive Creative Genius


For anyone who writes or designs (or even sings in the shower), this TED Talk presents a really interesting way of looking at the creative process. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since the first time I saw it.

I was reminded of the video during a conversation with a friend at a coffee shop a few nights ago. He being a musician, we were catching up on his latest music projects and ended up in a great conversation about creativity and where we find inspiration, and all that good stuff that comes out over a few cups of caffeine. For both of us, and maybe for you too, creativity sometimes feels as much like something you have in you, as it does something that comes to you. It’s that inspiration that strikes when driving in the car or drifting off to sleep – the feeling that, convenient or not, some momentary flash of inventiveness has struck and the time is right to capture it.

Most people I know who do creative work have felt something similar, and seem to feel almost as much a conduit of the creative process as they do at the mercy of it. Sometimes, the inspiration lasts long enough to produce something that surprises and delights even its author – but other times, the inspiration comes in a flash and leaves before anything can come of it, or changes the direction entirely.

It’s the process that author Elizabeth Gilbert discusses in this talk, and I think you might find it worth the watch, too. A few snippets:

“This is hard. This is one of the most painful reconciliations to make in a creative life. But maybe it doesn’t have to be quite so full of anguish if you never happened to believe in the first place that the most extraordinary aspects of your being came from you, but maybe if you just believed they were on loan to you from some unimaginable source for some exquisite portion of your life to be passed along when you’re finished to somebody else. If we think about it this way, it starts to change everything.”

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“Don’t be afraid. Don’t be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be. If your job is to dance, do your dance. If the divine cockeyed genius assigned to your case decides to let some sort of wonderment be glimpsed for just one moment through your efforts, then olé. And if not, do your dance anyhow, and olé to you nonetheless… Just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up.”

I hope you enjoy it : )

P.S. Another one of my favorite videos aboout creativity.

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