The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin (a review)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this book to be very inspirational. I write a blog. I write commentary on Pickleball and post it to a community of Pickleball players on Facebook. I maintain a journal. I assist a nonprofit with communications and marketing. I would like to live a more creative life.

There is a lot of good advice and observations to think about. This is almost like a step-by-step handbook on how to find, develop, craft and deliver a work of art whether it is a painting, a book, a song or a building design.

Highly recommended for any writer, musician, painter, architect or anyone desiring to improve their creative abilities. Five star book for this reader.

My notes from this book:

Look for what you notice but no one else sees.

Broadening our practice of awareness is a choice we can make at any moment. It is not a search, though it is stoked by curiosity or hunger. A hunger to see beautiful things, hear beautiful sounds, feel deeper sensations. To learn, and to be fascinated and surprised on a continual basis.

Read the finest literature, watch the masterpieces of cinema, get up close to the most influential paintings, visit architectural landmarks. There is no standard list: no one has the same measures of greatness.

There’s a reason we are drawn 

to gazing at the ocean

It is said that the ocean provide

a closer reflection of who 

we are than any mirror.

If we focus on what’s going on inside our cells – – sensations, emotions, the patterns of our thoughts – – a wealth of material can be found. Our inner world is every bit as interesting, beautiful, and surprising as nature itself. It is, after all, born of nature.

Sometimes disengaging is the best way to engage.

Re-reading even a well understood paragraph or page can be revelatory. New meanings, deeper understandings, inspirations, and nuances arise and come into focus.

Reading, in addition to listening, eating, and most physical activities, can be experienced like driving: we can participate either on auto pilot or with focused attention. So often we sleep walk through our lives. Consider how different your experience of the world might be if you engage in every activity with the attention you might give to landing a plane.

To create space for inspiration, we might consider practices of quieting the mind: meditation, awareness, silence, contemplation, prayer, and any other ritual that helps us fend off distraction

Collecting seeds typically doesn’t involve a tremendous amount of effort. It’s more a receiving of a transmission. A noticing. As if catching fish, we walk to the water, bait the hook, cast the line, and patiently wait. We cannot control the fish, only the presence of our line.

Number one seed, number two experimentation, number three craft and number four completion.

It’s generally preferable to accumulate several weeks or months worth of ideas and then choose which of them to focus on, instead of following an urge or obligation to rush to the finish line with what is in front of us today.

We are performing for an audience of one…

Living in discovery is at all times preferable to living through assumptions.

There is no telling where the next great story, painting, recipe, or business idea is going to come from. Just as a surfer cannot control the waves, artists are at the mercy of the creative rhythms of nature. This is why it’s of such great importance to remain aware and present at all times. Watching and waiting.