A lot of resources on creativity focus on the grind: showing up, day after day, and putting in the work.
I believe in this wholeheartedly. You can’t create anything new if you don’t show up and put in the reps.
I do think there’s more to the story, though.
There’s a place for white space. Call it daydreaming or whatever you like. Tweaking what already exists isn’t new work. It can be perfectly respectable work, but it’s not new. If you’re drawn to the new – new products, new art, or simply solving a problem that hasn’t yet been solved – tweaking what already exists may not be enough.
There’s inspiration. Those inputs that fuel your thinking, challenge you to go deeper, and prompt your subconscious to make connections you’d never see in your brainstorming, rational mind. Call it the muse if you like. Any moment that moves you in a way somewhat outside your control.
And there’s the grind. Putting in the reps. Making yourself show up, for a committed amount of time or a committed amount of work, and pushing through.
New work needs all three.