Creativity, playing and work ethics


The big thought for todays post is this: “In perfect conditions all creativity disappears”.

On daily basis people “tend” to think about creativity in a very intuitive way. Intuitive thinking is very helpful in some situations, but another times it drives us into intellectual traps. Natural manner to think about our work would be this: Constraints choke my comfort, instead of working on projects I am thinking how to go around them (obstacles). Hence when constrains will be gone my creative potential will flourish, because of all this free “resources” available.

Of course you could make very strong argument that logic above is fundamentally true with some great examples. But consider this. What “element” or “thing” motivates us to be working and creative in the first place? To go deeper into this – why human brain would evolve to ultimately find joy in creative process? Simply, to overcome obstacles in satisfying our needs of any type in the future and, by that, improve our chances of survival.

– Ok, so what do you say Przemek, that constrains are actually good?

– Well, at least some of them are. My point is that you could exaggerate in both ways. But that isn’t very helpful, is it? Let me tidy this up: Needs and, after them, constrains are elements motivating our creativity. You could use existing obstacles or add some artificial/voluntary ones to force ourselves to be more creative. In fact we do it all the time – we call it playing. Best (IMO) definition of playing is pretty simple: It is “working hard on overcoming unnecessary obstacles”. By adding some unnecessary constrains we’re effectively making “rules/gameplay”.

All that being said, most of creativity comes from hardcore working ethics. You could use some tricks like adding obstacles, changing facts, changing scale, drawing clouds of ideas and so on, but none of this will help when you just don’t actually work hard. Some say that inspiration is for amateurs… Professionals rely just on working ethics. In my opinion, most of times waiting on that “spark” is just a waste of time. My advice in that case would be – conceptual work. Write down your ideas without prejudging. Then, when you done, rework them, regroup, rewrite, re-whatever-it-takes. Choose what makes most sense, do some outlines. Then do outlines of outlines. Then some re-writing, re-conceptualizing. Then, after all this nightmare, write, paint, work. If you have some blank-page issues, maybe improve your concept so next time you will know exactly what to do.

Those are few of my personal “techniques” – accepting challenges, adding obstacles, minor creativity tricks, focusing on conceptual part and forcing myself to obey hardcore working ethics.

How do you cope with creativity issues? Dear visitor, please, please share in comments.

Take good care, and have the nicest day possible

– Przemek Kucia

P.S. Todays featuring video is about making of a hero. Maybe it will inspire some of you, maybe it will provide structure you need to avoid the blank-page horror.

2 thoughts on “Creativity, playing and work ethics

  1. tracycembor says:

    Lots of great thoughts here. For me, I am at my most creative when there is a little chaos in my life. If I have “perfect conditions” for writing, it is a huge struggle for me. I just muddle around, wander off, come back, and don’t feel any pressures to get words on the page. If I only have a short amount of time, then I am much more productive.

    I like to brainstorm when I am doing something else. Listening to music and driving are my favorites, but a spark of insight can show up when I’m cooking or at work too. My bags are full of scribbled notes.

    Awesome video link. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Przemek Kucia says:

    Thank you :D.
    Some say (;)) that the best job they do is when fatigued, but once they sit down to rest – it’s done, all creativity disappears. I personally like to take my work to a cafe – people working around, busy with conversations, in rush for their caffeine shot – this kind of dynamic environment suits me. And pushing ideas back and forth, discussions, exchanging arguments, those simply are my favorite activities 😀 It’s unlucky that there are no that many enthusiasts of listed above, or at least I have troubles finding people dynamic, polite and positive enough to have some great discussions (that don’t end up with “my reasoning is right, cause it’s more mine than your is yours” ;)).

    Oh my… ! I was thinking lately if cars are not that exciting today, or petrol is too expensive, or maybe people are working too much, because (In Poland… and Europe in general) we don’t take rides to just think about anymore. My personal favorite is early morning, before dawn with Iggy Pop – Passenger or Karen Elson – The Ghost Who Walks.

    Thanks for commenting, take care 🙂

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