Practicing Creativity

Reduce batch size and increase frequency

Reduce overall project size and the size of each step. Then stabilize (structure-preserving transformations) and Practice awareness of the whole, and repeat.

A common practice in software development is continuous integration and continuous delivery or continuous deployment (abbreviated at CI/CD). In CI/CD, changes are made through a series of the smallest changes that make a difference and are merged into the software at an increased frequency. Developers practice to keep making updates smaller and more frequent.

Big changes are risky because they are more likely to cause instability in the whole. However, big doesn't refer to physical size or scale. It refers to the number and complexity of changes made at a single step. A change can be large in that it covers a wide area using a wide-scale tool, and yet it can be small in its focus (Match each action to the scale of the tool). If the large change also includes many small details before checking in with the whole, then it may be considered too big.


  • When painting, be aware of the scale you're working at. Are you using a big brush or a small brush? Match each action to the scale of the tool. Make incremental adjustments at each scale, often working from larger to smaller as the painting matures—Sketch the whole first while staying at the human scale. Check in frequently after each brush stroke. The painting is developed through hundreds of these cycles ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes.
  • When organizing a kitchen, work with the time you have. Rather than taking an entire weekend to reorganize everything, identify a smaller step that can be taken and "stabilized." What's the smallest step you can do with the time, energy, and resources you currently have to create the biggest increase? Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can. Repeat this cycle more frequently—a few times on the weekend, a few times during the week, to make regular progress. Let momentum carry you. Taking on too much is exhausting and making it more likely the project will be started and abandoned in an unstable state. You may still spend the whole weekend on the project, but you're stabilizing more frequently and working in manageable steps.
  • Do smaller loads of laundry several times a week rather than giant loads, while balancing water / energy usage.

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

Match each action to the scale of the tool
When developing the whole, the size and scale of your tools will have a direct influence on the scale you can develop in a single step or cycle

Practice morphogenetic creative processes
A morphogenetic process follows a system of simple rules (like a genetic code), and evolves through patient application of those rules

Sketch the whole first
Since Creativity is organic, and Morphogenetic creativity starts with wholeness, a key skill is to sketch the whole first

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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