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Headlights

Creativity and Innovation

‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night.

You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’

This quote is often attributed to award-winning novelist E.L. Doctorow, but was popularised when it appeared in Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird (which also gave us some great tips on shitty first drafts).

What I love here is the truth about the creative process we all sometimes go through.

Sometimes, when we start something (whether it be a personal creative project, an innovation project or even a very personal project), the truth is that we do not know exactly what the end result will be.

All creative ideas require us to go through iteration to improve the ideas until they are finally ready, and they may look completely different than you thought at the beginning.

This might scare a lot of people so much that they would prefer to not start the journey at all. After all, what if the end result isn’t very good? Then people might feel judged negatively.

But if you realise and accept the fact it is impossible to see the future, all you can do is work on the creative project as it is now, and improve on it bit by bit.

And bit by bit, you will get closer to the final destination.

Even if you only see it once you are right at the end.

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