Creativity is a spark. It can be excruciating when we're rubbing two rocks together and getting nothing. And it can be intensely satisfying when the flame catches and a new idea sweeps around the world.
For the first time in human history, it's becoming possible to see how to throw off more sparks and how to make sure that more of them catch fire. And yet, we must also be honest: The creative process will never be easy, no matter how much we learn about it. Our inventions will always be shadowed by uncertainty, by the serendipity of brain cells making a new connection.Every creative story is different. And yet every creative story is the same: There was nothing, now there is something. It's almost like magic.—Adapted from "Imagine: How Creativity Works" by Jonah Lehrer, to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on March 19