The Enemy of Creativity is Comparison

Spine-Detail_grande_17d44093-8f35-4949-96d9-1590f267637e_large.4120405339704fd2a341b27d14c3ba71.jpg

I got a Panobook from Studio Neat today. It’s really nice. The cover is lovely, and the paper itself is beautiful to write on (and I’m only using a bic!).

Do you ever feel bad writing in new notebooks? Like whatever crap your writing or drawing isn’t as nice as the notebook deserves or something? I do. The Panobook has lovely paper and such attention to detail that I felt bad writing in for the first time.

I learned from Merlin Mann that the way around this is to break the spell straight away. Draw something stupid on the first page. Scribble on it. Write a dumb quote. Put a sticker in there. Shit. Someone has to do it. Once you realise that the notebook is just there for you to fill up in whatever way you want, there’s nothing left but to fill it up! Create in it. Draw. Write. Make Things. No-one will laugh at you here in this notebook.

And even if they did somehow find the notebook, look at it, and for some reason laugh at you, it’s because they’re not creating. It doesn’t mean you should turn off your creative tap. It doesn’t mean you should stop creating.

Creativity is how you figure stuff out. It’s how you learn about yourself. Fuck, it’s how you get in touch of who you are. It’s play. It’s human.

It starts with the first page. And Don’t Fucking Stop. I get it. You’ve heard this before. And you can’t draw anyway. Well fuck. If you really can’t draw then that’s something you can learn to do in this notebook.

The enemy of creativity is comparison.

I’m sure I heard that somewhere but I can’t remember where. A few months ago I would’ve let that stop me writing because I wanted to be scientific and cite my sources always. That’s a fair point - people should get credit if they want it. But creativity is also taking what you see around you and bringing a part of yourself to it. I’m not saying you should steal. I am saying don’t fucking let details like that get in the way of you tapping into your creative stream.

I wrote about making something instead of consuming something next time you and try to relax. Did you try that? What did you make?

Once you besmirch the first page of your notebook and keep creating, the next step is realising that’s the whole point. It’s about attitude. In this culture where work is the primarily valued thing, it can be easy to measure the value of your play and creativity in terms of money. Imagine for a second that the value in whatever you’re creating in this notebook (or whatever you’re doing!) is just as important as the work you do. Hopefully you don’t need much imagination because if it feels good to you and you get something out of it, it has value.

So. Go dirty the first page of your notebook in whatever way you want. Hell, you can just tear it out if you want. Creativity is valuable in all its forms. Don’t let comparison in any form get in your way.

Images on this post are from Studio Neat