Maria Popova’s online publication, Brain Pickings, is a masterpiece. Her writing is so skillful, you would never guess that English is not her first language. In fact, her writing is so important that it’s been added to the Library of Congress’s permanent digital archive of culturally valuable materials.
Still, the success of Brain Pickings and Maria’s mastery as a writer did not happen overnight. She has been publishing to her site daily since 2006, when it began as “a plain-text email to seven friends” that she wrote during college.
When we see, read, or otherwise experience a masterpiece, what we often don’t think about are the countless years of practice and failed iterations that came before. Remarkable creators like Maria find a way to show up and do the work every day. They manage to let go of any self-limiting beliefs and suspend the fear of judgment while creating. “The site grew as I grew—an unfolding record of my intellectual, creative, and spiritual development,” Maria says.
Masterpieces are not made by superhumans, but by mortals who have maintained a consistent commitment to their craft while permitting themselves the time and the mental space needed to create.
Doing this is not easy, of course, but it is a requisite for the creation of outstanding original work.
After years of researching the topic of creativity, our team found it necessary to regularly recommit to our creative selves.
To help, we wrote this Creativity Pledge (also included in this month’s Creativity Guide for members) to print and hang right where our most important work gets done. We invite you to do the same.
Here’s to embracing your inner creative!
P.S. This pledge is a work in progress, one which we plan to update each year. If you feel something is missing from this pledge, please let us know so we can consider it for the next update!
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