Scott Dikkers is the founder and longest-serving editor-in-chief of The Onion. In an interview with Big Think, he explained to Kevin Dickinson his approach to the creative process and offered advice for overcoming common creative blockers and flaws in thinking that limit creative productivity.
Here are the key lessons:
Creativity is a process, not innate talent. "Creativity myths evoke supernatural forces, but creativity is a process that takes discipline," says Dikkers. Anyone can develop creativity through practice.
To start, just start. Don't worry about being great at first. "The complete artist finds the balance between the 'clown' creative side and the 'editor' side through practice," says Dikkers.
Set deadlines and stick to them. They force you to finish work instead of tinkering endlessly. Dikkers used daily deadlines to develop his comic strip writing skills.
Get input and feedback from others. It helps you identify and fix flaws in your work. Dikkers even seeks out harsh criticism from beta readers.
Leverage technology, but don't replace human creativity with AI. While AI tools can help, AI-generated content lacks the "soul" that connects with people. "From a creator standpoint, I love it as a tool. Absolutely love it," he says. "I use AI to generate reference art for drawing or synonyms for writing. I love tools. As soon as word processing became a thing, I jumped right on it. I loved it. As soon as spellcheck became a thing, it was like my best friend. I'm going to take advantage of these tools, but I'm never going to have AI do my creative work for me."
Above all, listen to your creative urges. If you feel compelled to create, just start producing work. Skill will come with practice and iteration across multiple projects.