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What it Really Takes to be Creative


I recently wrote a post for Medium entitled Creativity isn’t Sexy. Creativity is about Creating. In that post, I discussed one of the biggest myths about creativity that prevents many would-be artists from doing the work they so deeply desire to do.

Since publishing that article, one of the producers from Cliff Central contacted me and asked me to be a guest on the Kellman Show to discuss some of my ideas. We spoke this morning about failure, hard work, and the difference between creativity and eccentricity. If you’d like to hear our conversation, you can check out the show by clicking on the link below.

T.K. Coleman on the Kellman Show


How to Build a Legacy

One constructive deed at a time. One creative act at a time. And so a legacy is built.

It’s always in this order. The work comes first and the glorious narrative of the creative genius, if it ever comes at all, is woven and spun around the world’s reaction to the work.

Artists aren’t made by pursuing “artistry.” They’re too involved with less glamorous things like action, discipline, problem-solving, and failure.

Artists don’t make history. Artists make art. Historians make history. And whenever historians decide to include artists in their stories, they pick the ones who actually got around to making art.

If you want a legacy, do stuff!

Forget about being creative. Forget about being an artist.

Revolutions aren’t ignited by our states of being; they’re ignited by our acts of creation.

Creativity Creates

Creativity is not an ontological state.

There is nothing one can be or cease to be, in terms of his existential qualities or defining attributes, that excludes him from participating in the creative process.

Creativity is about making things, building things, deconstructing things, renovating things, and designing things.

New possibilities are introduced to the world not because of what a man thinks he is, but because of what he actually does.

Creativity is inseparable from causality.

A man is creative for no other reason than that he creates.

Keep it creative

The difference between a critic and a critical thinker is that the former merely points out flaws in existing conditions while the latter actually advances alternatives.

The role of a critic is essential. Without knowledge of our failings, we can never transform our vulnerabilities into strengths.

But as Isaac Morehouse warned in Criticize by Creating, “If you enjoy venting problems you’ll get better at seeing problems to vent about, but if you don’t discipline yourself you’ll lose sight of solutions.”

Truthfulness, also known as the willingness to “tell it like it is”, is often associated with the courage to be honest about things when they’ve gone wrong.

But this kind of truthfulness can just as easily be a form of cowardice when we use our fault-finding abilities as a way of avoiding the responsibilities and risks that come with creating solutions.

Being truthful involves much more than the ability to detect errors.

Just as it takes guts to criticize, it also takes guts to create.

The next time you feel inclined to “keep it real”, try to remember that solutions and possibilities are as much of a part of reality as anything else.

In other words, keeping it real is simply not possible unless we also keep it creative.


Creating versus feeling good

I don’t look at creative power as something that depends on our being in a pleasant mood.

I see creative power as a force that is capable of embodying or expressing itself through a variety of states.

We are just as capable of creating when sad or angry as we are when serene or ecstatic.

Feelings are to an artist what the colors on a palette are to a painter. The painter has his favorites, to be sure, but he also recognizes all the various shades as being meaningful in their own way.

For the creator, the question is not “is it okay for me to feel this way?” The question is, “what is the most authentic and constructive way for me to work with the feelings that I have?”

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