It happened in 1950 at the El Zarape Tortilla Factory in Los Angeles. For the first time, tortilla production had been automated, and could churn out 12 times more tortillas than anyone could by hand. But the machine also had its drawbacks – many of the tortillas came out misshapen and distorted, and had to be thrown away. But a line worker named Rebecca Webb Carranza saw something in the rejects that fascinated her.
Creativity isn’t for sissies. It’s hard work, and for those who live and die by creativity, it’s not about inspiration, it’s about routine. The best writers, filmmakers, and other artists I’ve ever met were literally slaves to routine – a regularly scheduled time to
If you’re a creative person, at some point you’ll find a boss, investor, studio, or colleague who rejects your ideas. Sometimes it will happen so often you’ll start to question your own ability, and wonder if you’re really creative at all. In these moments (which will definitely come) my advice is:
You don’t need another lecture on the importance of reading books. You get it, but honestly, who has the time anymore? Plus, we can catch most books when they become movies on Netflix, or I can check the summaries from websites, right? Wrong. Speaking and working in England this month has reminded me just how
Science tells us that we’re driven by cycles, which I believe impacts our creativity. Although we can force ourselves to do almost anything, I think we do our best work at specific times of the day. For me, it’s morning. From about 6am to noon I do my best writing. After that I can do email, phone calls, meetings, or other work related tasks, but for my best writing, it has to be in the morning. Last week in London, I picked up the book “For Writers Only” by Soppy Burnham. She ran down the list of times of day when a number of great creators were at their peak:
If you’re a serious creative person, you need to find the place where you do your best work. In a coffee shop, in your bedroom, in the basement, on the patio – wherever your creative juices start flowing. For me, I need complete silence. My perfect location is probably a bank vault – no music, TV, email, or other distractions. My office is also
We don’t normally think of the bravery of creative artists these days. In other areas, while the media may consider Bruce Jenner coming out as a woman “brave,” most people reserve that honor for men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line – like soldiers, police, or firefighters. And certainly anyone else who makes the ultimate sacrifice in the service of others. But throughout history, those with creative ideas have put their lives
A number of years ago, a foundation invited my wife Kathleen and I to a private retreat at a resort in Montana to discuss the role of Christianity and the culture. There were about 12 people in the room who came from a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds. The process they used was the Socratic Method, which was developed by the philosopher Socrates (470-399 B.C.). Realizing that a society of lazy thinkers wasn’t a good thing, he devised an