Your Creative Process May Be As Unique As You Are

Incite InsightsI do most of my writing while walking the dog. Weird, I know. But it works well for me.

I rarely write down my first draft, preferring to keep it in my head. Yes, that goes against many of the creativity and productivity commandments — but again, that’s what works for me.

I have a lot of RAM apparently.

It’s Up to You to Make the Rules

Rules and guidelines are great — as long as you know when to break them.

One of the biggest issues with trying to follow someone else’s rules for creativity is that everyone is different.

This seems like common sense, but sometimes it’s forgotten.

Only you can define your rules for creativity and productivity. Many gurus offer terrific advice, which can be a starting point for you to develop your own routine.

Others come at you with condescension, and make you feel like a slacker if you’re not up a 4 AM writing every day.

Just like with defining your success model, it’s up to you to define your creativity and productivity rules. What works for you may be completely absurd to someone else.

That’s just fine. It’s not their life.

So next time you feel like a failure because the latest wonder-boy’s (or wonder-girl’s) surefire methodology didn’t work for you, remember you are unique.

Your inspiration may come from a completely unique place.


  1. I have a lot of RAM apparently.

    I’m loving that quote. The fact that everyone is different is a good point. Unfortunately, finding what “works for you” is done through trial and error.

    Now I’m gonna try walking my dog.

  2. Tony, I’m so happy to read this. I’ve done some of my best writing while standing under the stream of a hot shower or driving long stretches through the scenic Hill Country. Sometimes I need my hands to disengage from the keyboard for my brain to hit creative overdrive.

    So glad I met you in Chicago and discovered your blog!

  3. So true.

    when i teach songwriting, i find that i keep saying “you just have to do it and keep doing it and you’ll find what works for you!” and i get so enthusiastic about that because that’s how it happened for me. (and they all look as though i have pissed them off completely because they wanted an easier answer.)

    p.s. will your daughters still think i’m cool if i keep commenting on your posts? eventually it’ll wear thin, no?

  4. Anthony – You’re right about trial and error. Finding your rhythm is an iterative process.

    Connie – That’s how I work best, too. The act of typing the stuff is a mechanical process for me. By the time I sit down to “write,” I’ve already been through it a few times in my head.

    Christine – People love easy answers, even when they’re wrong. They’ve gotten used to someone trying to sell them on their way. And no, I donÒ€ℒt think the coolness will wear off anytime soon. My oldest daughter went through my stack of business cards from the conference today looking for yours πŸ™‚

    Priscilla – Nope, it has to be a dog. Just kidding πŸ™‚ Your way is the right way, not matter what anyone says.

  5. Hey – and I though I was weird.

    Some of my best writing, speeches, retorts, plans, goal setting and resolutions have come to me while walking. (I walk myself – no dog, no cat and the fish won’t cooperate for some reason – doh – I don’t have a fish).

    I think I have a good RAM – trouble with mine is that it is so Random it’s hard to Access the correct Memory. [Sigh]

  6. It’s a great point that you make Tony. I’ve been learning to accept my process more gently the past year. I tend to think it through a great deal in my head and then write it down. Ultimately, the most painful part are the first few edits. I always look back over the writing and wonder why it isn’t as good as I “thought” it in the first place. but then at some point I just have to let it go into the universe and trust it will matter to someone else.

  7. Jenny – At least you know what works for you πŸ™‚

    listr – Thanks for the heads-up.

    Trevor – Walking is just a great way to clear your head, even if you don’t have a fish to walk πŸ˜‰ Great RAM wordplay – btw!

    Sherry – Learning to accept your process is key. Trying to use something that doesn’t fit who you are, just makes it more frustrating.

  8. I don’t think that I have much RAM at all! I have a good-sized hard drive though. I have to read to be able to remember, which means that I have to type it up to maintain my creative energy.

    It’s pretty interesting how different we all are!

  9. It’s easy to suggest that you wait until you get in the mood to write when you are doing it as a hobby. Writers who actually make it a living make it a habbit to write. And they write regardless of the location of their muse. Their muse will eventually show up, drinking a glass of scotch and laughing.

    Writers write. Muses inspire. Waiting for your muse to show is really just an excuse.

    I honestly don’t understand your advice. Or why people are blindly accepting it. “Do what you want, ignore people! Creative juices are meant to be felt! Just let it come naturally.”

    Don’t get me wrong, if you enjoy writing like this as a hobby, continue writing.

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