One fool proof way of polishing your creative process

When we read, our thoughts tend to circle around that content. The characters that we draw up for our stories start resembling the ones that we have been reading of.

In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted Talk- That Danger of a single story, she says that as a kid growing up in South Africa, her imaginary stories always had English characters. And if asked to point out where it was on the world map, she wouldn’t know.

This filtering of vision, where we are aware of just one possibility- that brings down our creative potential. Always listening to the same kinds of stories, reading similar poems gives you nothing that the world didn’t know already.

You will grow nevertheless, but maybe not to your best potential.

We also tend to work in self fulfilling prophecies. As long as we believe that we can write only as great as what we are reading, that will define the height of our creative potential.

So as producers of creative work, as authors, writers, painters, thinkers, sculptors, how can you be at your creative best always? How can you stop being defined by only what you have access to?

After all the world is far more than what your vision can hold, is it not?

I believe in a single concept to keep refining the quality of my work.

I believe in details. In granularity.

As you go deeper in the details, you realise that you leave behind all competition.

In conversation with a mentor today, she said “selling is a generous act”. That blew up my thought process.

I have only always thought of selling as a give and take exercise. You charge for something that the other needs. My mentor said, it’s not so simple. It is generous because you have something which could be of value to another and you are okay with letting them have it. The fact that they give you money for it is only secondary. The first thing of consequence is that it adds value to their lives and that you are sharing.

Have you ever challenged your definitions or assumptions of concepts to this detail? Of course, we do need a mentor once in a while, but we can do it ourselves too.

Sit down today, after you read this and write about:

  1. How can I bring more granularity in my work? – Trust me, you will end up writing down your process, your creative process, and still not be close to what granularity means for you. Write in bullet points.
    1. I want to teach a course in writing. So my first bullet point reads “Draw up a list of topics and their outcomes”. I have 5 bullet points.

  2. Now pick up each bullet point, and go deeper. I have half a page on how I will choose a topic. I have another note section on my laptop that records the websites that I will check out and the books that I should get my hands on.

  3. Repeat the process for each bullet, and sub bullet, till you can go no further.

The first time that you do this entire exercise, you will realise that you are giving a lot of yourself to tasks and activities that don’t add value to the final outcomes.

The next time you do it, you will have more clarity of thought over the final outcome and you will come closer to your process.

The third time you do it, you will have a clear process in your mind, and one that will be executable for you without compromising on quality and comprising mostly of steps that add direct value.

That is granularity.

This post that you are reading- it is one of the outcomes of my exercise in granularity with myself.

It is exhausting and tedious.

But being world class has that price.

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