As some of you might recall, I’ve talked about a book I started writing over the past few months tentatively titled “Waiting To Wake Up” about the creative process and how to think in terms of getting ideas out of your head and just doing them. Well I’ve kinda-sorta been lagging on keeping a constant flow of writing these last few weeks. But I’m honestly trying to change that.

I’ve gotten a good foundation written down and I thought it would be cool if I let you all read the introduction to Chapter 1 which is called ‘Fear & Wonder’. So you guys can get a sense of what the majority of the book will be about. In this introduction, I’ve laid out quite a few concepts I personally lived through and figured out they can work for others who might have been in a similar place at any given point.

This book will primarily be about the creative process and how to realize the wealth of knowledge that lives around us. It will be a guide of sorts as to how to tap into those external and internal resources that will guide you along your journey to ultimately doing what you want to do. In addition, the skills and mindset you need to stay motivated and inspired to do everything that you want.


Creativity is one of the most common things in society today. Yet it is also one of the rarest things to truly grasp at a personal level. When you’re stuck trying to find ways to get into that creative state of mind, you feel as though it’s something that’s currently out of your reach. Sure, it can come to you over time with practice and determination. But the truest form of creativity does not come from only practice. Practice is merely a way to build your skills and allow you to execute what it is you’re attempting to create. True creativity comes from knowing how to think and how to live in an inspired state of mind. It is what separates the good artist from the great artist.

The reason this is true is if you take anybody who is just starting out in a new line of work, take graphic design for example. Chances are they got interested in it because they were inspired by a certain type of look, style, feel, etc… That person already has the makings of becoming great at that style they’re interested in because it is their taste in design that made them take the plunge and pursue that knowledge or a career in graphic design. If they manage to hold onto that initial creative taste that got them started, the chances of them quickly becoming a great designer are much higher than for one who lets that taste fade away. The reason being is that their awareness of what looks good and what doesn’t is at the forefront of their mind at all times as opposed to someone who isn’t aware of this. If they can make it well past the stages of self-doubt and the frustration that comes along when their work isn’t looking as it does in their head, then that clearly shows passion and dedication to their craft. And as a result, the fundamentals of what hard-work and a sharp attention to detail can give you becomes engraved in their minds.

Once you get past the stage where you honestly just suck at everything, you start to notice things a bit differently. It’s a gradual effect but over time, your awareness of what truly interests you starts to become more apparent. Lots of people tend to look for inspiration online either on Pinterest or just regular ol’ Google Images. At this stage is where you need to be careful though. There is a period of time where you can easily fall into self-doubt because you kind of have the basic knowledge to create stuff you like but its not quite there yet. If you ever start to feel this way, my suggestion would be to stop looking online for inspiration. Sure, looking at inspirational imagery can get your mind racing and will make you want to create cool things, but too much inspiration can damage your willingness to create and the inner drive to keep going. And this is where most young creatives fall short. They allow their imaginations to get way ahead of their abilities to produce the kind of work they want. Thus resulting in the self-defeating attitude that sadly I’ve witnessed my friends go through too many times.

The only way to prevent this from happening is to constantly be in the mindset of creating to improve your skills rather than just living in the mindset of gathering inspiration in the hopes that it will ultimately make you want to create something. Really, all that is is nothing but wasted time. Say you spend an hour looking at stuff online that will get you into the mood of creating something cool. That’s literally an hour you could have used to instead make something. Anything. Doesn’t have to be great. It can even suck. Horribly. But thats the thing. Most young creatives don’t allow themselves to suck willingly when they start to realize they are understanding things a bit more clearly than before. You need to allow yourself time to make bad things in order to know what works and what doesn’t work. You can’t expect to know everything from the get go. Spend some time tinkering around with random projects that will help you exercise your skills so that you can master them when the time comes to use them in a real world setting.

But sure we all need that push or little boost when we are out of ideas and have nothing in mind to create. If anything, you can set a limit on yourself of 5-10 minutes max on the time you spend looking for inspiration to get you going. Here is what I usually do when I’m looking at inspiration online. I rarely ever actively look for it. I usually just browse around a design blog to read articles and then find an inspiration round-up post and check it out. Usually if the work in there is in my general area of interest, I keep looking. If not, I just click out and do something else. But if I see something that does interest me, I let it sit in my head for a few seconds. After which I immediately close the window and start thinking more. The reason being is because if I get just an inkling of a possible idea for something I want to make, I don’t want my creative mind to be contaminated with any major aspect of the piece I’m looking at. If anything specific about the piece interested me, then I just have to rely on what I remember.

Doing this kind of exercise makes your mind work harder to come up with design solutions internally as opposed to an external source. The point here is to place your mind in a position where it will work for you. By forcing yourself to recall certain elements of something you briefly saw and can’t fully remember, your mind will fill in the gaps with things that probably weren’t there to begin with. As a result, you start to build an image in your mind that is loosely based off of an existing piece, but with the majority of the details coming from your mind. Once you have that rebuilt image in your head, then you go off and create something using a similar technique where you think of a certain concept, and start to place things in and around it in your mind. The vision of this does not have to be entirely clear. In fact, it should be as rough as possible.

Most people at this stage tend to start off by sketching the idea and putting it down on paper. This helps you by getting those important details you don’t want to forget off your mind in order to make room for more ideas to build upon. But really, sketching isn’t for everyone. I usually tend to just go straight into designing stuff. This helps me more because I feel I have a more flexible canvas with options to undo, erase, and move things, unlike pencil and paper. But that’s just me.

As I stated above, the single greatest thing you need to know how to do is think. Clearing your mind of clutter and allowing yourself to quickly put ideas onto a canvas and produce them without as much as breaking a sweat is the ultimate goal you need to aim for. Plan early. Aim high.