Hegarty on Creativity: There are No Rules

‘Creativity isn’t an occupation. It’s a preoccupation. It invents, perfects and defines our world. It explains and entertains us.’ – John Hegarty

The book describes what drives creativity, what inspires it and what sustains it. We are all creative, but only some of us are luckily enough to earn a living by it. This is why I liked this book as Hagarty gives his tips on how to achieve this.

I have always found being creative quite a challenge. I have to be in the right mindset for ideas to easy flow. Over the last few years, I have realised that being creative, innovative and communicating my ideas effectively in order to persuading others is vital.

Within the book, Hegarty takes 50 provocations and themes that lie at the heart of creative thinking, including Ego, Money and Technology, as well as some of the complexities of modern life, such as dealing with cynics in the workplace, or the best way of getting angry. When I was reading the book, the author’s message is very clear; he promotes the benefits of simplifying, thinking boldly and being undaunted by challenges.

These are some of the sections and quotes from the book that resonated with me the most:

‘Originality is dependent upon the obscurity of your sources.’ In other words, the book starts off by stating that there is no such thing as originality.

‘Creativity has to question, explain, and inspire our view of the world.’ From now on, when looking for an innovative idea, I am going to ask myself the following questions; does this piece of creative work stop you? Does this make you look at an issue in a different way? Does the creation make you understand the world in a different, more moving, inspiring, or thoughtful way? Does it move you to action?

I now realise that it is important to take, ‘a step back and think about what I’ve done and what I admire most about what other people have done.’ I think the most important thing to value about creativity is fearlessness!

Chaos v. Process. There is never a straight route to developing a creative output. Being chaotic and throwing ideas around the table might help spark a thought; however it also may result in nothing usable. This is the same for process and having a set structure, you might be more organised in your thought processes, yet it also may be more restrictive.

Why is Storytelling important to the creative process? ‘It’s what we build our ideas around. It’s the very fabric of our thoughts. If the idea is the foundation of the creative process, then the story is the vehicle that delivers it, making it memorable and provocative.’ In other words, storytelling is the most important form of communication ever invented. Through stories we learn, entertain, communicate, and socialise with each other. A story always leaves you feeling something and a great story, told brilliantly, still enthralls us the most.’

‘…we live in a world exploding with new and exciting technological developments. The digital revolution is transforming industries, re-imagining careers, and changing forever the way we create and do things.’ I often forget that technology should be the handmaiden for our creativity.

Remove your headphones! This is one thing I’m guilty of. I often listen to things to sort of cut myself off from the world. However, inspiration is all around us. All that we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell help us to form new fresh ideas. Wearing headphones can reduce the amount of inspiration you are exposed to. ‘To be a successful creative person, you have to be fascinated by the world and its wonders, absurdities, failings, and mishaps.’ Without inspiration, we can end up repeating ourselves.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this little book full of short reflections on what it means to create and what it means to adopt a creative mindset. It is succinct and to the point and is not over complicated which I appreciated. The main take-away point for me is that there are no rules; creativity can be whatever you want it to be!


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