Despite their myriad shapes and functions, they share one common attribute: They all began as something shapeless. A lump of clay, inchoate and uninformed, but a physical object nonetheless. The experience of shaping it is a reminder that creativity—whether in writing, sculpting, or cooking—is seldom truly an act of creation. More accurately, it’s a transformation, a pushing and pulling, a concretization of something that was already there, something as ethereal as an idea or as tactile as cold, wet clay. I remember this lesson when I’m at my most uninspired, when I feel I have nothing worthwhile to say, or when my refrigerator is empty because I’ve spent too much time at work eating takeout. I remember that creativity is meant to be playful. And that most often, those feelings of creative gridlock can be assuaged by taking something shapeless and prodding and poking it until it starts to become something.