Anna Lawrence

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Alice Walker on Creativity

To wonder what creativity is is among the chronic perplexities of the human condition. We’ve dissected its four essential stages, outlined its five steps of idea-production, and expounded theories about how it works. And yet the nature of creativity eludes us, perhaps because somewhere between the …

The 10 Stages of the Creative Process

The question of what creativity is and how it works will perhaps remain humanity’s most unanswerable — but that hasn’t stopped us from trying. On the heels of Neil Gaiman’s recent reflection on the subject comes one from filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, founder of the Webby Awards and daughter of the …

How Creativity Works: Neil Gaiman on Where Ideas Come From

Beneath the eternal question of what creativity is lies the mystery of where good ideas come from and how we can coax them into manifesting. It’s a conundrum that has occupied artists, inventors, and philosophers alike since the dawn of human thought, but especially so since the dawn of psychology. …

Beloved Children’s Book Author and Illustrator Leo Lionni on Creativity and the Secret of Great Storytelling

In 1959, beloved children’s book author and illustrator Leo Lionni(May 5, 1910–October 11, 1999) created a lovely little book for his grandkids, Pippo and Annie. <i>Little Blue and Little Yellow</i>, a minimalist and brilliant allegorical primer on color theory and graphic design basics, went on to inspire …

Vladimir Nabokov on Writing, Reading, and the Three Qualities a Great Storyteller Must Have

<i>“Often the object of a desire, when desire is transformed into hope, becomes more real than reality itself,”</i> Umberto Eco observed in his magnificent atlas of imaginary places. Indeed, our capacity for self-delusion is one of the most inescapable fundamentals of the human condition, and nowhere do …

The Six Motives of Creativity: Mary Gaitskill on Why Writers Write

Why do writers — great writers — write? <b>George Orwell</b> attributed it to four universal motives. <b>Joan Didion</b> saw it as access to her own mind. For <b>David Foster Wallace</b>, it was about fun. <b>Michael Lewis</b> ascribes it to the necessary self-delusions of creativity. <b>Joy Williams</b> found in it a gateway from the …

Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Crucial Difference Between Success and Mastery

<i>“You gotta be willing to fail… if you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far,”</i> Steve Jobs cautioned. <i>“There is no such thing as failure — failure is just life trying to move us in another direction,”</i> Oprah counseled new Harvard graduates. In his wonderfully heartening letter of fatherly …