creating is a mixture of hard work and inspiration

one of the latest on being episodes is an interview with elizabeth gilbert. creating came up and she shared an insight that resonates with how i have seen and experienced creativity. rather than creativity being fully mastered by the creator or fully a gift of inspiration, it’s actually probably a mixture of both.

on the one hand, some creators take all the credit for their brilliance. these are the “i worked hard for years and years and that explains my skill and amazingness.” on the other hand are the vessel creatives. their line of thinking is “i’m just a vessel. i wait for inspiration and then i act on it when it comes.”

to gilbert (and me), neither feels totally right. she believes that the world’s best creators inhabit a place in between these two theories. it’s not completely up to you when inspiration comes, but you can prepare and be ready for it when it hits.

this makes a ton of sense to me and lines up with lots of my own experiences. she gives many examples of other artists over history who have verbalized this middle-ground and i’ve heard many as well. basically the trick is show up and work every day so that when a brilliant idea or song or painting or design fix or whatever hits, you have exactly the right tools and processes in place to make it come to life.

and to wrap things up, here are two relevant quotes that i can’t find the sources for, so i’ll just paraphrase for now:

ps - i think this is a great piece of good news. this thinking takes being a “creative” out of the realm of exclusivity. everyone already can be (or already is) a creative; we just don’t yet have human systems to recognize and capitalize on that.

pps - i think this thinking has a strong parallel in the free will vs predestination conversation. whether talking philosophy, creativity, or spiritually, i think ┬áit’s a both in all these cases. maybe all those sacred texts aren’t divine because they’re literally the word of God, but because they were written by people who were dedicated and wrote down the good stuff when it came through. hm!