Creativity: Loving, Knowing, Doing

‘…the most useful definition of creativity is the following: people are artistically creative when they love what they are doing, know what they are doing, and actively engage in art-making. The three elements of creativity are thus loving, knowing and doing; or heart, mind and hands; or, as Zen Buddhist teaching has it, great faith, great question, and great courage.’

Loving, knowing, doing. The secret behind becoming excellent at anything is loving one thing deep and hard enough to do it for a very long time. To continue to learn and know it.

That's Eric Maisel via Justine Musk, in her epic post on why you have to read like a maniac to develop a writer's intuition. Later she says:

Don’t just read because it will make you a better writer – although it will. Read because you love to read, you love stories of all shapes and sizes, you love the flow and rhythms and innovations of language, you love to learn stuff about people, you love to learn stuff about the world, you love to form relationships with individuals who don’t exist. Read because you love to write. Read because you love fiction and nonfiction and their pirate chests of treasures.

I can't imagine being interested in writing and not subscribing to Justine's blog.

4 comments on “Creativity: Loving, Knowing, Doing
  • “Because if you don’t have love, then what do you have?”

    This was the most revealing line in Justine Musk’s post– straight from her “undermind”.

    The mindful practice of loving, knowing and doing applies as well to sex as to writing.

    To me, the best sex and the best writing draw from the same ever-flowing fount of inspiration in the human psyche, and what a shame to live without expressing yourself creatively in your own medium.

    Not everyone will be James Joyce or even Ron Jeremy, but at least he gets to be the director of his own movie.

    My credo of creativity was best expressed by the irrepressible Mavis Leyrer:

    “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive, well-preserved body… but rather to skid in sideways, screaming “Holy shit, what a ride!”

    [or something like that]

  • I think the most interesting phrase from this post is the Zen Buddhist mantra: “great faith, great question, and great courage”

    Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the tension between faith and doubt, and how it applies to everything in our lives, not just religion. Having great faith means taking it seriously and questioning at every turn. This requires great courage.

    To be a great writer you have to have absolute faith in your ability as a thinker, you have to be sure that your thoughts are worth sharing and are indeed as profound as you sense they are. But getting the point across is difficult, and you have to constantly question your decisions when writing.

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