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As a child, I had a belief that only some selected people can be creative. I used to think that creativity is an inbuilt talent that some people are lucky enough to be born with. Because among all my classmates be it school or college, I was the only one who never knew what to do with the ‘home projects’ that were supposed to represent our unique voice and creative thinking. Hence, I always get a zero in all my creative work. 

However, something changed in the last few years. I, the not-so-creative girl, became a writer, an artist of words, and a creative thinker. Now, you must be thinking HOW?

The answer lies in Seth Godin’s book, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work. Godin says in his book that creativity is not some magical spell nor a talent. Creativity is instead a SKILL that anyone can learn and master with the given steps that his book, The Practice discusses in depth. 

The Practice: Shipping Creative Work Book Summary
The Practice: Shipping Creative Work

As per Godin, Creativity is not a feeling but an action that anyone can take and become an expert in it. The Practice dismisses the misconception that successful writers, musicians, or artists were born with a special talent and have access to the constant flow of creativity. Seth says creativity is like any other skill which can be mastered through one thing – THE PRACTICE: THE HABIT OF CONSTANTLY MAKING AND SHARING CREATIVE WORK.

But wait! You have to practice creativity in a certain way otherwise you might feel lost. So, here are some of the practical techniques that you can start implementing from this very day and pave your way for creativity. I will also be adding some of the questions that you can answer to get clarity on what you want to create and how you can start with the process. Shall we?

Principle 1: Learn to Trust Yourself

“Everything happens twice, first in your mind then in reality” so if you want to be creative with your work, you first have to believe with all your heart that you are capable of creating a masterpiece. Instead of trying with a closed mindset of ‘I cannot be creative’. Try to have an open mind with the mindset of ‘how I can make it more creative’

HOW means opening the doors of opportunity and pushing your brain to really think. Whereas declaring ‘I cannot be creative’ is a dead sentence that closes the doors to opportunity.

So, first, believe in yourself, and second, keep your brain open for possible ideas.

Principle 2: Don’t Focus on the Outcome:

Humans are hard-wired for certainty. We want to have a complete 100% guarantee of the result. In fact, our day-to-day tasks often produce the exact same outcome that we imagined in our heads. 

However, creativity is just a synonym for uncertainty. You cannot expect art to be predictable and certain. Art cannot be created by applying pre-determined rules. Art is like your soul, you cannot see its exact form but you know it’s beautiful.

In The Practice, Godin says, if you are relying on the outcome to decide your level of creativity then you are just creating a dead hole. Some people will love your work while others will loathe it. Hence, creative work can never be judged by the outcome.

For example: Go on Goodreads and check the review of any of your favorite books. You will find both positive and negative reviews. WHY? Because everyone has different tastes and as per their taste, they judge the art of words. 

If you are in the creative world, just forget what the outcome is going to be like. Drop that pressure of what people will say. Get up and start creating. You can very well control the process, how you approach your daily practice and how you immerse yourself. So, focus on the process, not on the outcome.

Principle 3: Find Your Tribe:

You cannot become rich by taking the advice of a beggar on finance. Similarly, you cannot become creative by hanging out with closed-minded people. As they say, you are the sum of five people you hang out with. So, it is the time when you choose your tribe. A group of like-minded people. If you want to be a writer, make friends with writers so that your thought process and focus shift. 

And lucky as we are, you don’t have to go out in the world, asking people to be friends with you. You can choose to follow like-minded people on social media. If you are a writer, you can follow me here.

“Choose who you follow and see how you become just like them”

-Seth Godin

Principle 4: Acquiring Relevant Knowledge:

If you are constantly consuming crappy content on Instagram reels while expecting to be thoughtful with your work, I would say stop fooling yourself. 

Scientists say we consume more than 95% of the information subconsciously which means even you don’t know what is going on in your head. Now, when you consume garbage, you are going to create garbage, right?

Hence, Godin suggests in The Practice that it’s time when you should start acquiring relevant knowledge – knowledge that belongs to your own industry. Your subconscious mind will start creating connections and soon you shall be able to come up with creative ideas while peeing, bathing, brushing, reading, or even during sleep. 

That’s the top-notch secret to being creative without burning yourself.

Principle 5: Inspiration Follows Work:

Most people have a misconception that we should only work when we feel truly inspired to create something jaw-dropping. But here is what Godin has to say, ‘You don’t create because you are inspired, you are inspired because you create”

So, stop waiting for the perfect moment when a magical light of creativity shines in your mind. Get up, do your work irrespective of how you feel, and see how inspiration comes following you.

Taking my personal example, I often don’t feel like writing articles but when I start, after two or three paragraphs, I feel I am in a flow state when words automatically dance in my head. And then, I use this flow state to edit the earlier paragraph. It is as simple. You do your work and the inspiration rush to kiss your head with ideas.

Principle 6: Feedback:

Any art gains its value when you share it with people. Hence, it is extremely important to share your work with the work, gain feedback and improve the quality of your art as per the feedback gained.

However, Godin says in The Practice that there is a difference between feedback and criticism. Some people wouldn’t understand your work while others are just waiting to burst their anger on your work. So, remember, some critics aren’t worth your attention.

For example: If you take any advice on music, I will say anything as per my current mood which might make you question yourself. However, my feedback was not worth taking in the first place. But if you take any feedback on writing, I will share a few tips to improve your work based on my experience. 

So, you have to be careful about:

  1. Who you are taking the feedback from
  2. How you are letting the feedback feel you
  3. Not letting criticism impact your self-worth

These are the 6 principles that will make you more creative as per The Practice by Seth Godin. Now, let’s see some of the questions that I have prepared for you:

  1. What specific challenge do you face when it comes to creativity? (for example, creative blocks, fear of judgments, or something else)
  2. After reading this blog and knowing how you can be more creative with strategic practice, what are you planning to create in the next year? (for example; I am writing a book)

I hope my book summary of The Practice: Shipping Creative Work helps you in becoming more creative with your work. And I would suggest you buy the book if you are looking for more inspiration and techniques. Another book that you can buy on creativity is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Big Magic is one of my all-time favorite books and truly stands as a piece of art. Let me know in the comment section if you want the review of Big Magic too.