Prologue

Welcome to the Cliffjump! Manifesto… I know there are a lot of things you could have chosen to read today, so the fact that you’re reading this really means a lot to me, and I want to do everything I can to make it worth your while. To that end, let’s quickly go over what you can expect, and why I think you should stick around…

The purpose of this humble little project is to explore the creative process from three perspectives: psychological, practical, and philosophical*, and to offer a guide to a way of approaching creative work that has been remarkably fulfilling and empowering for me.

On a psychological level, I’ll be exploring some of the fears that I feel hold us back from our innate creativity, and looking at some novel ways to work around them. I’ll examine five specific negative habits of thinking that I believe interrupt and stifle creative flow. And I’ll try to provide some guidance on how to avoid them as much as possible, though I personally feel we can never fully or permanently ‘cure’ ourselves of them.

On a practical level, I’ll distill the lessons I’ve learned over a lifetime of creative work into a simple and reliable framework on which to build a rewarding and fulfilling creative habit. In the place of the five negative patterns mentioned above, I’ll be proposing five elements of a healthier, more positive approach to creative work.

Finally, on a philosophical level, I’ll take a deeper look at the essence of the creative life. I’ll show how, for me at least, it fits into a larger worldview – and how this way of seeing and approaching creativity might bring more meaning, purpose and empowerment into our lives and our societies. (Note: the full-length, paid version of the book goes into much more detail on this level…)

It is my belief that, far more than a pleasant diversion, creativity is the most important tool we have in facing an uncertain and difficult future. We need creativity more than ever. We need Fearless Creativity.

Drawing as it does on the the vast existing literature (both classic and contemporary) on the subject, but rather more on my own experience and perspective, I hope – more importantly – that this work will help foster and contribute to positive and constructive discussion on the subject.

I realize that’s a lot for a project like this (by someone you’ve most likely never heard of) to promise, and while I’ve put a lot into it I don’t want to trivialize this enormous and fascinating subject, or to give the impression that I think this represents any kind of ‘last word’ on it – as if that were even possible!

In fact, I do realize that the creative process is often a good deal messier than the rather idealized picture I’ll be presenting here might suggest. I have to admit that my own process does not often follow a succinct linear path, and I expect that this is the case for most creative people.

So while I will be presenting a framework for the creative process, it is really not intended to be an authoritative list of the stages of creativity, nor a prescription for it. I don’t mean to suggest that if you simply follow these simple steps in this order, creativity will result; nor am I saying that if you don’t follow these steps, your work is not really creative.

Still, I think there is some value in taking things apart and having a closer look at what makes them tick, so that’s what I’ve done. Doubtless others would break it down differently, and come up with different observations and conclusions; this is what it looks like to me, at least on a good day…

Regardless, I do hope it resonates with you, and that you’ll leave your thoughts and reactions in the discussion area at the end of each section. With a little luck, this little book will be the beginning of a much larger conversation.

Continue with the Introduction


* I should point out here that I am not a trained or licensed psychologist, nor do I have any formal education in philosophy; so these terms are used colloquially. The ideas I’ll be working with here are based on my own observations and my particular creative journey, with all its successes and failures; conversations with creative thinkers from my own and various other disciplines; and finally, on my own independent reading and research.