#35: How not to lose your creativity
Hello! I'm Nate Kadlac, designer of Plan Your Next, a newsletter that connects design, creativity, and how you prepare for your next thing.
Every Sunday, I aim to make this newsletter as timeless as the Porsche 911 of cars. If you’re new here; join us.
What’s new this week?
🎤 Episode #7 of It’s Gotta Be the Mic: Reza and I had a great chat about living an ordinary life, writing, design for non-designers, and more. We have one more episode to go before we wrap up this season. We’re both excited to keep this going, so please share specific topics you want to hear us chat about.
🍿 After writing this letter, I’ve been thinking about how Alie and I started this journey in Italy. Lucky for you, I used to be a wannabe vlogger for a stint and made a video four years ago.
Good morning from Los Angeles!
Next April, my life will forever be altered. We’re expecting a girl, and I couldn’t be more giddy or fucking scared all at once. Giddy for the obvious reasons; scared because I have no idea what my life will look like after April 25th.
We’ve crashed into many hurdles to get to this point, and it feels like we’re still 350 meters back in a 400-meter race. Looking back, broken hurdles are laying all over the ground, with our knees bruised from falling down constantly.
We’re trying to get through this without too many scars, but with the finish line in sight, I’ve been reflecting on my own childhood and wondering what kind of dad I hope to be.
Last week I was interviewed by the apple picker Steve Favier, who asked me a seemingly simple question:
How will you make sure that your daughter never loses her creativity?
"There's not really any evidence that one person is inherently more creative than another."—David Epstein
When I was a kid, creativity was all around me. I would catch myself staring up at the ceiling in a random corner of the house, and see a butterfly staring down at me.
Small animals were drawn into the ceiling paint, drawn by my dad’s finger. He built our house with some friends from church and used his creativity to add a unique flair to parts of our home.
Our front door was a wood slab with high relief woodblocks jutting out in a random mosaic pattern. In my bedroom, I splashed paint all over my walls, and painted a life-size version of Chris Webber on another.
I embraced both art and design when I was young. As an adult, I’ve explored painting, drawing, photography, design, writing, pottery, video, and more.
Even though my own creative exploration looks intentional, sometimes our unconscious minds play a bigger role in how we approach the world.
According to a 1992 research study in American Psychology, “nonconscious processes may indeed be faster and structurally more sophisticated than our conscious thinking systems.”
The pleasure we get from exploring our unconscious minds is tied to the sugar-like neurotransmitter, dopamine, which plays a role in creativity. Authors Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregorie state in their book, Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, that “the drive for exploration, in its many forms, may be the single most important factor predicting creative achievement.”
At the end of the day, if creativity can be fostered through exploration, I intend to encourage my daughter to chase every creative thread she seeks. If you don’t continue to explore the world with a curious mind, that creative muscle will wither away.
✍️ Your next article to cure writer’s block
The reason why I took David’s course earlier this year, was for this specific reason:
“Don’t waste your time spinning wheels. Arm yourself with ammunition, and writer’s block will disappear like a mirage in the desert. Instead of creating new information, you organize the information you already have.”
Start with abundance. This is why notetaking and arming yourself with ammunition is so important. As Sebastian Junger wrote, “If you have writer’s block, you don’t have enough ammunition.”
🏕 Your next creative adventure
Wow. Under Canvas is a luxury safari-style canvas tent which puts you in the middle of the outdoors. I can’t imagine doing this unless I had a small family or group of friends, but you can choose from locations like Zion, Moab, Lake Powell, and more.
🧐 Your next quote to inspire
“The art of a great painting is not in any one idea, nor in a multitude of separate tricks for placing all those pigment spots, but in the great network of relationships among its parts. Similarly, the agents, raw, that make our minds are by themselves as valueless as aimless, scattered daubs of paint. What counts is what we make of them.”
― Marvin Minsky, The Society of Mind
This quote reminds me of the Gestalt theory, which states that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. We should consider all of the elements on the page as working together, similar to the relationships between the brush strokes, our relationships between friends, or even relationships between interconnected ideas.
👶 In case you missed it, our next story
👋 See you next Sunday
Are there certain topics you would like me to cover? Hit reply and expect a response!
As always, my calendar is always open to chat about your crazy ideas.
Have a great week!