The Creative Unknown

The creative unknown is a term that has come up a few times in my articles, and it’s something I want to expand upon a little bit more.

Creative flow

As artists, we are known for creating. But where does that creativity come from?

Have you ever created something and found yourself staring at it or listening to it over and over again? You’re dumbfounded by what you’ve created? You’re aware you made it, but you’re also inspired by it. You might experience a little bit of imposter syndrome?

Maybe before a project, you already had a rough idea where you want to go and what you wanted to accomplish and you sort of, but not really, knew what to do in order to get there.

Then that process began. The process of the creative unknown. Creativity just came out of you. You took those pictures, you moved that brush or pencil. Your fingers moved over the piano or keyboard keys – and things happened.

It’s only after you came out of the creative flow and looked back, you were amazed by your own work. It might have felt like it wasn’t you who created it. It was you, but it also wasn’t you.

"The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists." - Charles Dickens


In order to get into the process of creative flow, you need to leave room for discovery. To simply allow the creativity to flow out of you, and not judge it. Get out of your own way. Don’t judge or criticize as you’re creating. Just create.

Find comfort in the unknown.

You can only plan so much. The rest should be up to discovery and innovation. Whether it’s gibberish and something you’ll delete later, it doesn’t matter. You’re discovering. Just discover. Don’t label it. Don’t judge it. Allow it to be. Go down the rabbit hole and see what you find on the other side.

Perfection shouldn’t be on your mind when you go through this process. What should be on your mind is discovery, and you can only accomplish that by moving forward. That means going through some mud and fog.

Most of the time you have no idea where you’re going and what you’re going through is muddy. It’s nothing you’ll consider good or worthy of sharing, and that’s exactly the point. It’s during this process where you make your discoveries. Where you simply stumble upon things you never previously thought of, and it was there all this time. All you had to do was to allow yourself the opportunity to find it.

Now you can take whatever you found back to where you came from, clean it up and refine it, then share it with the world.

It’s this process you should fall in love with. Have a passion for the process, not the end result. In the end, the hard work and creative suffering should have been worth it, then you have passion for what you do.

Process of the work

The reason you’re able to create great work today, is because you created good work yesterday.

Never stop creating. Keep putting in the work. Learn from others, but also learn from yourself. Learn from your past mistakes and successes. Find what worked and what didn’t. But keep going.

Your greatest piece of work never arrives. It’s always still to come.

Always travelling, never arriving.

You might create something incredible today and have no idea how you did it. It might be because of the work you’ve done previously. It’s all of those experiences and skills that have allowed you to create what you just did.

Everyone is on their own creative journey so don’t compare your journey to theirs.


33 thoughts on “The Creative Unknown

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  1. ‘All you had to do was to allow yourself the opportunity to find it.’ You know, this is true about other people, allowing them to reveal themselves. You won’t always like who they turn out to be but you have choices then made on observation, rather than projections. Same process, fits multiple subjects.

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  2. I have done those things, create not to show, just to create. Those were fine things. When I get blocked, I need to remember to get creative. It always works. My best writing has come from my personal diary where I write my personal life, pains, pressures, the unknown, fears. I have written fine things from just from one thought, one word. I will remember these things, and stay creative. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I recently read a quote from the book Outliers, “The drive to succeed and the accompanying fear of failure have held back some of the greatest creators…”. It’s interesting how our creativity sometimes disappears when we feel obligated to create something “great” or “worthy” – before we created it. Shouldn’t we judge our creative work AFTER we have created it, because then we have at least created something? It might be good or average, but at least it can serve as a foundation to create something even better.

      As I understand, the way you’re creating is the most authentic and best way to create. Your writing is an extension of who you are. Your thoughts and experiences. Your writing is literally a piece of you transferred onto paper.


  3. Gosh yes!~ Whenever looking over my old work I wow myself only by the time I finish reading realize I’m the one who needs to update the next chapter and then suddenly feel like it’s beyond me. Imposter syndrome is definitely the perfect way to describe it!

    Good talk. Cause this is definitely me.

    “The reason you’re able to create great work today, is because you created good work yesterday.” I’m gonna tuck those words into the folds of my heart.



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