The Accidental Creative

I have already made references to this book in my previous blog posts, but I wanted to type up some of the most profound points I found in Todd Henry’s “The Accidental Creative”. Reading this book was incredibly timely for me, and I learned so much about managing my energy, and not just my time. So, without further ado, please enjoy these quotes and notes!  (And perhaps check the book out for yourself!)

“When the pull between possibilities and pragmatics becomes too strong, the rope is taut, eliminating the peaks and troughs of productivity required to do our best creative work.”

Our best creative work (truly, sustainable creativity) is the result of creative rhythms. 5 elements of creative rhythms are:

  1. Focus – Less wasted time, clear and concrete objectives, and weeding our unimportant activities.
  2. Relationships – Systematically engage with other people to be reminded life is bigger than your immediate problems.
  3. Energy – Energy management, not time management.
  4. Stimuli – Creative nutrition, quality output depends on quality input.
  5. Hours – Ensure the practices that make you an effective creative actually make it onto the calendar.

Producing great work consistently and in a sustainable way is the sum of being prolific + brilliant + healthy.

You need relationships in your life where:

  1. You can be real.
  2. You can learn to risk.
  3. You learn to submit to the wisdom of others.

We think we can fill all available time and have energy for it all if we have the time for it all. But that’s not the case–time and energy are different resources. Each time you give energy to one project (professional or personal), that’s energy that you can’t give somewhere else.

Practice of pruning: “You can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want.”

“You cannot live with an ‘always on’ mindset.”

“How you define greatness ultimately will define your life.”

Take no unaccomplished projects, dreams, or ideas to the grave with you. Each and every day, get out of you whatever is of value to others. Die empty.

This is only skimming the surface of the brilliance, the pure gold of this book! I learned so much from reading it, even though I had honestly forgotten about most of the things that it said until re-reading my notes. And the book is full of practices to incorporate into your life to really maintain a healthy creative rhythm. But even if I just revisit these ideas every so often and work on one or two new things each time, I will be improving my creating abilities and endurance. I also just revisited Todd Henry’s website and found that he has written another book on that idea of dying empty, so I’m definitely adding that to my list of books to read! Maybe you’ll get some more Todd Henry in the future.


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