Welcome to The Creativity Gap
Why is creating so hard?
Happy Saturday morning. Kindly mute your cartoons.
This newsletter is now The Creativity Gap.
Studies show that we are less creative at work than at home. That is wasted human potential.
Nothing is more valuable (even measured in economic terms) than beauty. For example, at this moment, there are more tourists in France than there are people. Tourists spend billions—trillions, maybe—to go see the beauty in that country. Can you imagine the ROI of those centuries-old creative projects?
It stands to reason that every wasted bit of your creativity, too, is an incredible loss to humanity. I know it sometimes feels unimportant, but it’s not.
The name, The Creativity Gap, also refers to the fact that there is a personal gap—a void—between where we are and our creative dreams. And, as my banner photo indicates, we have to willingly step into that void. Creative fulfillment and meaning lie on the other side. But so do pain, disappointment, and discovering our limitations.
It’s seriously not easy.
Let’s discuss exactly what a first step might look like.
‘Discovery Weekly’ hurts more than ‘On Repeat’
“On Repeat” are the songs that I listen to all the time. I know them very well. No surprises, but no discovery. Maybe amazing new songs are waiting for me—but I can’t imagine the sound of the melody I will love one day.
Creativity, even in small ways (like Discovery Weekly), is always harder than the status quo.
For another example, “There is plenty of fish in the sea!” only tends to annoy someone going through a breakup. And it’s downright cruel to say to someone in grief, “everything happens for a reason.”
All of that stuff is probably true. But it’s still annoying to say.
Yes, there are always more fish. But the thing is—I can’t picture anything specific about a new fish, but I know great, great detail about the fish I’ve lost.
I remember, for example, her expression when she looked at herself in the mirror.
So, there is a permanent imbalance—the future is an abyss of formless potential—and the past is a garden of specific delights (and mostly forgotten annoyances).
That’s the crux of the Creativity Gap.
So, how do you consistently step into that abyss to create new things?
All good things in your life were once unknown to you
Everyone you love was once on the other side of an impenetrable veil of darkness. Even your mother was once a stranger to you. Through some miracle, you stepped through the veil and found them.
So, why do we stop crossing the viel? Everything we could ever want is in that blackness. The only price is our familiar past. Sometimes it feels like an unbearable price.
But there are so many more songs to hear, people to meet, and things to create. It is terrifying, no doubt (as anyone who’s been heartbroken or felt true loss can tell you), but there is crackling potential in that unknown. All it asks is that you let go of what you know and trust that something good is coming.
We just can’t predict the specifics before we leap.
“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” — Soren Kierkegaard
There are understandable reasons why sitting down to write feels like a deep tissue massage from a gorilla. It is the same reason it’s hard to leave a doomed relationship. You’re not crazy.
The answer is annoyingly simple: Take the tiniest steps into the unknown today. Do a little more tomorrow. Repeat.
For example, if you can’t even stand to look at your mess of a book—just open the document for 5 minutes today. That’s enough. Do a little more tomorrow.
Little by little, close the creativity gap in your life.
Making beauty actually matters—and it will make you richer (in every sense). The value of closing your personal creativity gap is so massive it’s hard to measure. But the gist is obvious: it’s big.
Stay subscribed for encouragement and actionable steps to cross the gap.
Share this with anyone who has an unfinished novel on their hard drive.
Thanks for reading, and talk to you next week,
I’m going to cover a few things in upcoming issues:
1) tiny, daily steps compound
2) the money will come (just not how you expect)
3) you will transform by the time you arrive
Here’s what I’ve been reading:
A new favorite. What if time travel was a phenomenon of memory? At the moment of your death, your pineal gland dumps DMT into your brain. With the right machine, you could use that moment to go back to any memory in your life. When would you go?
The characters are insanely high-detail and life-like. I feel like with a lot of fiction, there is a suspension of disbelief with the characters—like, if you look too closely, you’d see the zipper on their costume. Not here. Genius characters by one of the greatest writers who ever lived.
The same writer who wrote a childhood favorite, Eragon, wrote an adult sci-fi novel. It’s not bad. A little cheesy at times. At one point, a character says, “A thousand times, yes!” to a marriage proposal. I’m sure someone actually said that at some point…
Quotes I’ve been pondering:
“The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others.” — Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“Everything will look better in the morning.
There will be hope again when the light returns.
The despair is only an illusion, a trick the darkness plays.” ― Blake Crouch, Recursion
“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.” — Friedrich Nietzsche