A long time ago, I read this fantastic article on The Next Web (TNW) that talked about focusing less on being original and more on being prolific. It clearly serves as the inspiration for this post. Look, I completely get it. One of the most innate desires of any creative is to leave their mark on the world. We create because we have the drive to share and enrich other people’s lives. And I’m not necessarily talking about the photo of last night’s dinner or that whimsical selfie. I’m talking about spending weeks or months focusing on a single track, concocting a single project and working on nothing else all for the sake of being as original as possible. Don’t get me wrong here. It’s not that I’m advocating for racing to being less original. Rather, I believe that true, individual creativity is achieved through a variety of steps, with one of the more notable ones being prolific in creating new work.
The TNW article also references a book that I have read and highly recommend called Originals by Adam Grant. A common theme that Grant threaded throughout the book as he introduced notable people and how they accomplished greatness was the role of how much they created and the importance of that increased frequency of creation. To quote psychologist and professor Dean Simonton from the book: “On average, creative geniuses aren’t qualitatively better in their fields than their peers, they simply produce a greater volume of work which gives them more variation and a higher chance of originality.”
All of this is to say that there’s a virtue in working to create a lot over anything else. The more you create, the higher your chances are of catching lightning in a bottle. In other words, I’d rather be out there with my camera every day creating something—even if it’s only slightly different than what I created the day before—so long as I’m actively doing it. It stands to reason that, almost invariably, a moment of pure inspiration will strike as a result of my constant acts of creation and I’ll grab that lightning.