A bathroom faucet running with clear water into a sink

PHOTO: Tosab Photography/ Unsplash

The secret to creativity is being okay with making lots of bad art. Basically, you need the ability to put many ideas out into the world (at least onto the page/canvas/guitar/computer/etc). Even if nobody sees them.

Lots and lots of those creations will be bad. Like, embarrassingly bad. But only by having a regular practice of putting pen to paper will you get to the point where you’re making worthwhile creations you can be proud of.

Julian Shapiro calls this the Creativity Faucet. As he says, “visualize your creativity as a backed-up pipe of water. The first mile is packed with wastewater. The wastewater must be emptied before clear water arrives.”

I love that visual. All those shitty first drafts, bad poetry and awkward drawings…. they’re all the wastewater. The beautiful words and images and melodies come after, and only after, you’ve cleared the pipes to let your creativity flow.

Or, as Nobel-Prize-winning physicist Linus Pauling says, “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.”

So, quit being precious about your creations.

Stop judging yourself so critically.

Make more stuff.