How to find out what you want to do creatively

This is not advice for a career or how to make money. This is simply how to decide what you want to do creatively. This is what has been working for me.

I accidentally stumbled on this method from childhood. Around 13 I started writing lists of everything and making sure to have multiple backups so I would never lose them. I am now 30 with an extremely clear picture of what it is I want to create.

First, forget about spending time identifying as something. A trap I saw a lot of people fall into is thinking of themselves as a poet or a filmmaker or startup person or a photographer or a short story science fiction writer. That is all ego. You like Steven Spielberg so you call yourself a film director to feel good. You don’t know what you are and there will never be an answer.

In fact, you might get tricked by how easy it is to pick one thing. It’s easy to to come up with a short story. What is hard is coming with 300 short stories on a consistent basis. Which is likely what you will need to do to get better and draw an audience.

Don’t box yourself into anything. Unless you are marketing and trying to get an audience for you work, then be an narrow and niche as possible so you have a good hook. But that usually comes after you know what you want to be doing.

Get a blank journal or a notepad or notepad.exe. Personally I use the notes app that come with Iphones and macbooks to jot things down quickly.

Now just start writing things you find interesting and important while you go through your day. What do you daydream about?

It can be half thoughts. It can be long monologues. It doesn’t need to follow any existing structure. Just remember in the back of your mind to note things down. The funny way a stranger ordered coffee. An idea for a fight scene on the subway. A daydream about everyone on your street attacking eachother. Don’t censor yourself. No idea is too stupid or ambitious or nonsensical. No one is going to be as forgiving as you. If even you will censor yourself before you write something down, you will lose great ideas.

You have to allow yourself to have stupid thoughts to have as many thoughts as possible. No idea is bad in a brainstorm.

Now keep doing that for weeks and months and years if you have to.

At about 15 years I went through and reviewed everything I wrote. I wouldn’t recommend waiting this long, I just got distracted by a startup opportunity and this thing annoying thing called “the expenses of living.”

After reviewing everything I wrote, I saw several patterns in the types of things I would find interesting. I tried my hardest to make everything fit into a few categories. I thought ok I can fit almost all my ideas into Science fiction scripts and a vlog about making 1 million dollars.

After continuing to add things, I found they didn’t actually fit into those categories as neatly as I wanted. And when I actually made a few outline for the vlog, the format was too limiting and didn’t work at all.

So I reworked them a couple more times and came up with a series of videos and blog topics I really enjoy.
At the time, I ended up creating 150 potential videos and 170 potential blog posts. By now it’s actually about twice as many of each. I find once you have a format you like, it becomes and easier and faster to think up ideas.

I think people tend to have frequent writer’s block when they don’t write enough or they chose a format that isn’t true to themselves.

Once you have your format. And you can have as many formats as you want. Make a schedule. Put your stuff out there.

Give it a few years. Maybe never stop no matter what. If you’re coming up with ideas and find them interesting to make and read, then there really is no reason to ever stop.

Mark Cuban frequently says “Don’t follow your passion, follow your effort.” You are yourself. What you create and how you act. The core of endeavor is constant writing and brainstorming.