Creativity = (Stock and Flow) + (Morning Pages)

I’ve been digging Austin Kleon’s work lately. There is so much excellent fodder in both Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work!, and I highly suggest subscribing to his e-newsletters for a regular dose of even more goodies.

The concept he stole-then-shows that intrigues me the most is that of Stock and Flow:

A page out of Austin Kleon’s book Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered; I stole this image from his blog.

Being the nerd that I am, I pored over the original Robin Sloan Stock and Flow article he references, along with its excellent comment thread, which then led me to this excellent article by Peter Nicholson that Christie Nicholson (a relation?) suggested.

I’m reminded of Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way: a Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, though I have’t read it recently enough to be able to pinoint the exact reason why.

Here’s the consolidated message that I’m sitting with: Creativity is a PRACTICE, not an innate quality that you either have, or you don’t. If you create every day (or at least, regularly), you will “be” (become?) creative. And if you cultivate this regular practice of creating, plus a regular practice of writing-all-the-unhelpful-crap-out-of-your-brain — Julia Cameron Morning Pages style — eventually you’ll have enough material to re-work into something larger… which will have a better chance of being “good” to the extent that you’re tapped into your higher self.

 A few questions linger:

  • Of course I want to credit my sources, and the people who tipped me off to those sources. But my oh me, fellow writers / researchers / artists / collectors-of-content: how do you keep your links and references organized, much less the sources of those sources???

  • If it’s true that we’ve become information-rich and attention poor, why don’t we place more value on the ability to focus our own attention?

My previous post on the virtues of Pocket is a partial answer to both those questions, and to the latter point, meditation. But I’m still searching for the right combination of organization + categorization tool(s), and welcome your suggestions!