While I believe that everyone is creative, the truth is, real breakthrough creativity is rare – because it takes work, skill, and courage. But many pursue it, and as a result, there are thousands of websites, social media feeds, books and other resources on creativity. But from my perspective, the greatest secret for breakthrough creativity can be taken from a quote from novelist Kingsley Amis:
He was talking specifically about writing when he said, “The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of one’s pants to the seat of one’s chair.” Put another way for our use, you could say, “Creativity is the art of connecting the seat of your pants to the seat of the chair.”
Creativity isn’t magic, good juju, and most of all creativity isn’t inspiration. Sure, inspiration is a good thing, but you can’t depend on it. For every one day that you’re inspired in your work, there are hundreds – sometimes thousands – of days that nothing happens. That’s why you need a foolproof method to make creativity happen.
The book “Daily Rituals” by Mason Currey tells the story of 161 creative professionals throughout history and charts their daily routine. The result is amazing. What I discovered from the list of writers, painters, musicians, and other creatives is that the vast majority were virtual slaves to a daily routine. They created the environment, schedule, and process that worked best for them – and then stuck to it.
So stop waiting for inspiration. If you’re serious about creativity, then get seriously on a schedule. Stop waiting for the funding, the perfect team, more experience, the right timing, or better research.
Show up. Do the work. Commit.
Connect the seat of your pants to the seat of a chair.
This is your time.