Practicing Creativity

Find community in sages and scenes

Find time and space to be with people who are interested in what you're making and also how you're making it. People who are fellow practitioners, or who aren't but have their own practices that have an overlap in mindset and values. Being part of a community like this is a way to avoid Development hell through the creative kindling of conversation, curiosity, and camaraderie.

It's also a way to Become interested in reality and Practice awareness of the whole—ideas and projects are no longer abstract, but have regular contact with reality through keeping in touch with other people and sharing drafts iteratively (Work with the garage door open).

Sages - A teacher, a mentor, with whom you have a Horizontal relationship. Someone who isn't part of the "audience" of people who give praise or rebuke (Express gratitude rather than praise or rebuke), but instead is interested in learning from you as well. They may be much younger than you, or you may be much younger than them, but even if you're a quick learner on your own from the Internet, Tacit knowledge can only be gained through observing fluent actions.

Scenes – Imagine a workshop or row of craftspeople's shops. The people there work independently and have differing levels of experience, yet they are unified in their interest in the same practice and an overlapping constellation of values. They're not interested in copying each other and creating identical work. Each item is original to the maker while being part of a community. But they are interested in sharing discoveries, getting a fresh perspective from their fellows, and encouraging each other through the ups and downs of their shared practice.


Every creative act is made as part of a larger conversation... To be caught in development hell is to be isolated from the conversation for a long time. The importance of participating in a community of practice. –Gordon Brander

One of the key parts of a successful collaboration is getting feedback from a few good people with shared interests and tastes. These let a hypothesis or feeling be explored deeply, until a finished work produced... the ideal is a lot of small frugal niches in which a few like-minded creators can bounce ideas off each other, based on their own idiosyncratic attitudes and goals, who periodically feed into a smaller number of larger super-niches, which themselves feed into larger ones and so on, like a tree. –Gwern, On Development Hell

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These are my draft notes on creativity—as a skill, a practice, and a mystery

About Practicing Creativity

These are my notes on creativity—as a skill, a practice, and a mystery. Everything you find here is in a perpetual draft state and much of it may not make sense. I hope these notes become clearer over time as I continue writing and updating them, although I hope they might be useful even in disarray.

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