Jake Trent

The Accidental Creative: How to Brilliant at a Moment's Notice

I just finished a book about becoming a more productive and effective creative person, called “The Accidental Creative”. It was a great book and included some thoughtful ideas that I ended up pondering and have started incorporating into my life.

What follows are the big ideas from the book, broken into the areas that the author had identified and my short take on what each of them is or has the potential to benefit.


Challenges - Define what you’re working on the big statements, sometimes in the form of questions, around what you’re focused on solving.

The Big 3 - Refine what you will actually tackle by aligning the efforts with what you’ve identified as your important work.

Clustering - Avoid the frenetic task switching and the associated productivity penalties by scheduling single activities in order to deep and flow with your ideas.


Circles - Identify and regularly meet with people with similar interest with whom you can combine creative power and generate and vet new ideas.

Head-to-heads - One-on-one meetings of people between who there is mutual respect in order to share as much value in the form of ideas and creative thought as possible.

Core Team - Identify a handful of people in your life whose opinion and experience you value so much that you will trust yourself to be guided by their input on important decisions and life events.


Whole-life Planning - Don’t pretend you can compartmentalize work and other parts of your life separately. Rather, schedule and plan these things together to get a full picture of all important work you’re involved in.

Pruning - Remove the things from your life that don’t match your big 3 or that are excessive energy drains in order to open possibilities for better/more results in areas that really matter to you.


Study Plan - Have scheduled time to ingest new ideas and learn new things.

Notation - In an effort to really digest what you experience, take notes and review them in order to understand more fully, remember, and let what you encounter change you for the better.

Purposeful Experience - Filter the over-abundance of stimuli available to you and be intentional about what you experience, feeding your most important needs and efforts.


Idea Time - Great ideas are important to the value you generate in your work, so actually schedule time to do nothing but ponder and generate new ideas specifically for the future.

Unnecessary Creating - Often what used to be a fulfilling creation activity for someone becomes drudgery and work without remembering what it feels like to just create without the pressure of the end product.

Have you read this book? Others like it? What are the practices that you’ve ended up incorporating, and how have you seen the benefits?