Do You Think Product or Process?

Ours is the creative age.  A recent study by IBM shows the number one characteristic employers now look for in future employees is creativity. But its application is much wider than work.

Learning how to recognise, understand and harness our creative capacities is becoming not just a nice-to-have but a psychological necessity in our fast-paced, interconnected, always-on world.

In ancient and tribal cultures, creativity was understood as a gift from the gods. The Enlightenment dethroned both superstition and religion and rationality came to be privileged by modern societies as the highest level of thought.

We turned to science for answers, in fields from ethics to medicine, and in many ways that has served us well. And in some, not so well, as the twentieth century saw life all over the planet deliberately extinguished through war, consumerism and pollution, and human suffering and extermination on a previously unimaginable scale.

As we make the next turn in the wheel of human evolution, we urgently need to establish creative connection as the necessary framework for scientific, analytical and rational thought.

We need to integrate rational and spiritual, conventional and creative, without privileging either over the other.

You cannot separate them. They are like our right foot and out left, designed to work together. To say one is better than the other is to set yourself off kilter.

Going Creative

Because society, school and workplaces favor conceptual more than creative intelligence, we grow up failing to understand what it means to be creative: what it entails, what it asks of us.

  • to know  what we truly want;
  • to experiment with our own lives;
  • to see failure as learning;
  • to express our own truth;
  • to accept open questions and the unknown;
  • to let go and surrender to the process.

Our culture is highly uncomfortable with all this. It tries to have it both ways, to turn creativity into something that can be measured and proven.“For the Romantics, creativity’s center of gravity was in the mind,” says Joshua Rothman in a recent article in The New Yorker. “For us, it’s in whatever the mind decides to share — that is, in the product.”

“It’s not enough for a person to be “imaginative” or “creative” in her own consciousness. We want to know that the product she produces is, in some sense, ‘actually'  creative; that the creative process has come to a workable conclusion.” (You can read Rothman's article in its entirety here.)

But isn't a focus on product, rather than process, actually anti-creative?

What do you think?


Be More Creative Guest. This week… Know Your Gift With Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf goes creative
Know Your Creative Gift with Virginia Woolf

Mrs Dalloway contemplates the dinner party she will throw later:

“But to go deeper, beneath what people said (and these judgements, how superficial, how fragmentary they are!) in her own mind now, what did it mean to her, this thing she called life?

“Oh, it was very queer. Here was So-and-so in South Kensington; some one up in Bayswater; and somebody else, say, in Mayfair.” And she felt quite continuously a sense of their existence and she felt what a waste; and she felt what a pity; and she felt if only they could be brought together; so she did it.

“And it was an offering; to combine, to create;

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Going Creative

Coming soon
Coming soon
Knowing that the same elemental, dangerous energy that moves the wind also moves me, the only approach to life that makes sense to me is the creative way.

And knowing that I am an advocate for this way, people often ask me: if I did ‘go creative', what would happen? Here are some answers:

• You would recognise the relationship with your own creative consciousness as the number one relationship in your life, the one that defines all the others.
• You would allow yourself to observe and express the truth of your unique character and experience.
• You would be awake to life through five outer senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell) and five inner (perception, emotion, intuition, imagination and inspiration).
• You would know how to

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What Is F-R-E-E-Writing? A Guide for Creatives and Creativists

three kinds of creative flow practice

It's no coincidence that in my novels both Jo and Norah in After The Rising and Mercy in Blue Mercy write their way to resolution.  This was my way of paying tribute to the power of writing  to heal, transform and liberate.

It’s such a miracle, that through marks on a page we can communicate across vast continents and dead generations.  Like all the everyday miracles, we can take it for granted.

Writing is a uniquely human experience.  Dolphins, birds and other species can communicate but only we can write. It is also the human achievement that (literally) underwrites all the others – without it there would be no mathematics, no science, no philosophy, no history, no cinema.

And, of course, no literature.

Equally miraculous, I believe, is the power writing-to-self has to expand and deepen our creative capacity.

In school, we’re taught how to appreciate literature and how to write to communicate with others but a number of psychologists, scientists, behaviouralists, healers and educators are increasingly interested in the astonishing power of writing when we use it to communicate with ourselves.

My research into this topic this has led me to the technique I call F-R-E-E-Writing, a particular way of writing that maximizes its potential to encourage creative flow.

What Is F-R-E-E-Writing?

The difference between F-R-E-E-Writing as I teach it and other journaling methods you may have encountered is speed and a conscious opening to creative flow.

The f in F-R-E-E-Writing stands for fast (and r is for raw, e is for exact and the second e is for easy.) When F-R-E-E-Writing, we always write as fast as we can.

F-R-E-E-Writing is timed. You set a timer or a page count and when the time is over, or the pages are full, you stop. The stopping is as important as the starting.

Full details in this F-r-e-e Writing Notebook.

If you’ve never done F-R-E-E-Writing before, or if you haven’t done it for some time, or if you’ve done a different “writing-for-self” method, like Julia Cameron’s “morning pages” or Natalie Goldberg’s “writing practice”, begin again.

Try it this way and see how you go.

The most important thing about any form of freewriting is not what method you use but that you just do it.

For f-r-e-e-writing to work its magic, it has to be experienced.

It's about showing up, showing your creative self that it is valued, that you want to hear what it has to say.

The simple addition of speed is enough to change the experience radically for most people.

Don’t content yourself with reading about it. Or tell yourself you did something similar before, so you know all about it.

F-R-E-E-Writing: The Benefits

The benefits of F-R-E-E-Writing are cumulative. They build over time.

Our lives are so noisy and distracted these days. F-R-E-E-Writing is a way to connect with the deeper, more centered and connected, self.

Using this method the aim is to write fast enough, for a set period of time or number of pages, to get beyond our censoring, conscious minds and access subconscious levels.

I’ve introduced this easy writing method to writers and other artists and emerging artists but also to postgraduate students and returners-to-work, to immigrant groups and women recovering from drug addiction.

I’ve witnessed its benefits among people from different countries and at every level of social and personal development, even those with weak literacy skills.  That’s why I can teach the same simple technique, over and over, without ever tiring of it.

The more I teach it, and hear the stories of lives transformed by it, the more my respect for the complex potential of this simple technique grows and deepens.

I’ve come to see f-r-e-e-writing not as a luxury for those with the time to do it but a simple, significant shortcut to physical, emotional, spiritual and creative wellbeing.

A daily brushing of the psyche, that takes a little bit longer – though not much – than a good brushing and flossing of the teeth.

I have come to believe that everybody who can be, should be, F-R-E-E-Writing.

F-r-e-e-writing For Creatives

This is especially true for those who want to consciously create: writers and composers and filmmakers and artists of all kinds; healers, educators, activists and coaches. And also creativists: those who bring the processes of conscious creation to work, money, relationships, every aspect of life.

A Creativist is a person who applies creative principles to the art of living e.g. home, relationships, money, work. Find out more about going creative, in my book A Creativist Compendium.

  1. F-R-E-E-Writing clears.Sometimes, yes, we may be overwrought in our F-r-e-e-Writing. Or whiny or irritable or sad or angry or miserable. Or joyful or elated or carefree or blissed out. Over time, all our emotions will find their way in and we come to see how transient they are.  Allowing all the “negative” emotions, ideas and feelings within us and giving them free vent in our notebooks, siphons them off. This greatly lessens their hold on us.  This is why some people see F-r-e-e-Writing as a form of meditation.
  2. F-R-E-E-Writing liberates. We come to see that it is not the events that happen to us – as individuals or as artists – that count, so much as our inner relationship to those events. Regular F-r-e-e-Writing ensures we become a channel for the deep stuff rather than a mouthpiece for con-mind moans, sound-offs, rants or self-indulgences.  We acquire the distance that is a prerequisite of ease, freedom and flow, the defining qualities of the create-state.  
  3. F-R-E-E-Writing stabilises. Truly allowing all the voices inside diminishes the power of any one (I’m thinking of the inner critic).  Regular and committed use of F-r-e-e-Writing generates a progressive strengthening of the psyche.
  4. F-R-E-E-Writing inspires. As you F-r-e-e-Write, great ideas emerge, seemingly from nowhere.
  5. F-R-E-E-Writing empowers.  F-r-e-e-Writing teaches us to trust our own experience and interpretation of the world, essential to a conscious creator, together with the confidence to express what we truly feel and what we truly want to create.

PLEASE NOTE: You can purchase a F-R-E-E-Writing Notebook with full instructions through my website: F-r-e-e Writing NOTEBOOK.

If you'd like to give ongoing support to my mad, mammoth undertakings (!),  my patrons get early access to extracts of my books as I write them, together with behind-the-scenes insights and patron discounts and gifts. Become a patron here.


Creative Giving

Giving is at the heart of the creative approach. You give something of yourself – sometimes for payment, often not. Sometimes knowing exactly why, often not.

This blog post is my once-a-year callout, where you get the opportunity to intentionally give — by supporting a vulnerable person who, because of famine or war or genocide or some other trauma, is struggling.

This is where I ask if you have enjoyed or received any other benefit from the Go Creative! blog this year, whether you might

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