Flywheels and Reps

Two fallacies and two truths about creativity

Flywheels and Reps
Photo by Karan Bhatia on Unsplash

Fallacy 1: The more you give, the less you'll have.
Truth 1: Creativity is a flywheel, not a tank.

Creativity is a flywheel that multiplies, not a tank that depletes. Sometimes I worry I'll run out of article ideas. It never happens because each article I write sparks another post idea.

Epiphanies are born in moments of clarity. Writing gives me clarity, so each sentence I write brings new epiphanies. Momentum builds with every keystroke.

You would think the people who write the most run out of ideas the fastest, but the opposite happens. The people who execute on their ideas without fear of running out seem to draw from a bottomless well. Because they do. That's how it works. The more they give, the more they're given to give.

I think that's one of the reasons why successful writers talk about process so much. If you wait until you have a brilliant idea to begin working, you'll miss out on one of the richest idea sources: the work itself.

Fallacy 2: Some people are born creative. Then, there's the rest of us.
Truth 2: Creativity is a muscle, not a gene.

So how do we get there? How do we consistently put in the work? How do we develop a process?

A common belief is that creativity is an unchangeable trait. Some people are born with it and some aren't. This is discouraging, and it's untrue.

Our souls are wired to create. Maybe it's running a business, writing a book, coding an app, painting a mural, recording a song, or starting a non-profit. What creativity looks like varies from person to person, but the raw material lives within each of us.

Think about it like a muscle. Some people are more athletic than others, but everyone (barring disability/illness) can lift weights in the gym and get stronger whether they're athletically gifted or not.

The difference between creators and non-creators is that creators overcome the Resistance (fear, self-doubt, ego, self-sabatoge, etc.) and non-creators don't. Not because they're better. Not because they have more willpower but because they have a process. Everyday, they create something, they practice, they put the reps in. That's it.