Peak Creative Moments

I recently wrote about peak moments—times in our lives on which we look back with pride. When we reflect on the big points in our lives, we often think of non-work events: weddings, births, moves, graduations, and so on. But I think we have peak creative moments as well, when we find ourselves in the midst of an important experience of our own design, or when we come to the end of something we’re proud of. For those of us who create for a living (or create for a life), it’s good to isolate those times and keep them in mind as we move on to other projects.

So here’s the exercise: take 60 seconds and write down all the peak creative moments you can think of.  It could include an all-nighter you pulled to finish a big project… the final release of a work that was months or years in the making… the first time you saw your art on the wall of the gallery. Or something else entirely.

Ready? Take your 60 seconds… now!

It’s good to isolate peak creative moments and keep them in mind as we move on to other projects.

If you’re curious, here’s one of my peak creative moments. A year ago, I wrote a book. Writing the book itself involved plenty of frustrating moments, as well as the occasional euphoria of feeling like I was on the right track. Then I finished, and waited for the peak.

It didn’t come, at least not right away. I went on with my life and other projects. Then one day nine months later (publishing being an insanely slow industry), I got a FedEx box of my author copies. The funny thing was, I didn’t expect it to be a big deal, since I’m usually thinking much more about the future than the past. Years ago, I skipped my college graduation to go to India. I didn’t even open the mail with my diploma until a month after returning.

But for whatever reason, opening the box of books turned into a peak moment. I pulled out the first copy and thought, “Wow!” I held the work in my hands and, after confirming that my name was actually spelled correctly, I felt a sense of ownership and pride. I was glad I had made it through the writing challenge and publisher dramas, coming through to the other side of having a “real book” in my hands. In another two weeks, I knew I’d be out on the road meeting readers, and I was already thinking ahead about the second book.

While it’s good to look forward to something new, there is much value in reflecting on what led you to where you are now. We’re not always so great at predicting what accomplishments will have lasting impact. For me: a graduate degree didn’t lead to a peak creative moment, but writing a book did.

Reflection can be a powerful thing – a feedback loop that helps you refine your professional and personal goals.

What About You?

What was one of your peak creative moments? Did it inform your choices going forward?

More insights on: Achievement

Chris Guillebeau

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Chris Guillebeau's new book, The Happiness of Pursuit, details how anyone can bring meaning into their life by undertaking a quest. He also writes for a small army of remarkable people at
load comments (4)
  • Garin Kilpatrick

    I strive to invest my peak creative moments into creating the free content I give to people who sign up to my newsletter. When someone joins my newsletter this is often when our relationship is created, and so it only seems right to me that I should share some of my best creativity at this pivotal point.

    Peak creativity is often random, and strikes like lightening. Whenever it does strike I try to harness the creative energy, even if it jolts me out of bed in the middle of the night.

  • Mark Dykeman

    Finally launching my first information product certainly felt like a peak moment and it was very rewarding.

    Another peak moment came from when I came up with the Thoughtwrestling concept: something about it just gelled all of a sudden.

  • Joshjamesmartin

    Peak creative moment have been for me the flow of energy while working, that feels out of body. Also, the sense of accomplishment that arises from freeing myself of the sticky fabric of the material world and coming to a philosophical realization that is tangible. In my writing life, and I am young, it comes when I share something I am proud of. Having my message being heard in such a vast world of other ideas.

    A great example, at my local poetry slam. I stood apart as my poetry wasn’t slam persay, but the show allowed other styles. That I made a stand against the accepted and normal, and went back to the roots of poetry to show my inner mind in a more poetic style with no rhyming scheme. It worked and it was recognized, yet challenging for the audience.

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