Beckman, the editor of the renowned literary review, makes a profound point in his essay about the invention. It is precisely our capacity for distinction, he explains, and our possession of enough nerve to create things ex nihilo, that is so enviable. Notice the phrase, ex nihilo. Meaning, out of nothing. Whatever we made, that thing wasn’t here before. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s about the most inspiring goddamn thing in the world. The divine experience of creating new value out of thin air, what a joy. Sadly, many people don’t grant themselves access to that joy. Maybe because they don’t believe they’re creative, maybe because they don’t think their worthy of inventing anything, or maybe because their life is busy and they simply don’t prioritize it.
CREATIVISM -- Philosophy of reinvesting their success into new tools to serve their inventive undertakings
Edison comes to mind, an inventor who was much more of a creationist than a capitalist. Whatever he earned making things out of nothing, he immediately reinvested it in new apparatus to serve his inventive undertakings. This is an element of creative expression that doesn’t garner much attention. The fact that we, as creative people, have an obligation to pay ourselves first. To save some creative for our own lives. Here are two ways you can think about that. First, with a commitment device. This is a physical object or prototype that makes the effects of your work real and visible for all to see, even in the early stages of production. It might be as a simple as a titled notebook, or as robust as a dedicated room in your home. Second, with a momentum device. This is an elegant excuse just to have ideas and validate the process with a sophisticated piece of office technology, building your confidence, commitment and competence. It might be as basic as registering a domain name for your new business, or as having a countdown timer to the number of days left before your launch your new nonprofit. Both of these tools will serve your inventive undertakings. They don’t cost money, they cost something more important that. Your attention.
I love how Vilhauer summarizes it beautifully in her book about thinking forward. If you're carrying around the store belief that you are someone who doesn't accomplish things, not taking action is simply the reality you are creating for yourself, consistent with that you believe about who you are. There’s untapped joy waiting for you. I tell my coworkers all the time, try make something out of nothing today. It's damn invigorating.
It's called paying attention because it costs you something to focus. And that’s what the most prolific creators know that the rest of us forget. It's not a big thing, it's a hundred little things. The intention and continuity of which have more value than the individual actions combined. If you long to create something ex nihilo, then grant yourself access to the process. What new apparatus might serve your inventive undertakings?
Create new value out of thin air
Gain leverage from your existing successes
Overcome feelings of creative unworthiness
Treat your work as dynamic process of increasing returns.