A lot of people never start because of the fear of imperfection. But when it comes to creating, something is better than nothing. That something could be as little as a blog post — private or public — a diary entry, a podcast, a simple doodle, or if you prefer to speak through images, an Instagram post.
The habit of making and sharing your art builds confidence. Of course, there will always be others that want to put a dent in your endeavors but most people are encouraging.
Even more, two things happen when you show up to produce every day.
Once your daily practice of making art is set in the stone and you've kicked down the frustration barrier that prevents so many from being consistent, then you can go back and pull inspiration from your work.
New ideas will bloom from the stems of your first drafts, especially the shitty ones. You'll start making connections and flag concepts that need further elaboration or clarification. Through this process, it'll start to become clear what types of work you enjoy, what you want to be known for, and where you want to spend the most time improving.
Creativity is not rocket science but it is still hard work, one that requires both commitment and trial and error. The professional shows up the good days and the bad to hack away at their inner genie. There are zero shortcuts to building quality and long-lasting output.
The word ‘productivity' was originally an agricultural term meant to assess the output of farmers. As technology replaced field labor and allowed people to move into cities, productivity turned man into a machine.
Instead of plowing the fields, people cultivate threads of emails. They label manila folders into ten different categories. Indulging in the work-related tasks is a never-ending obsession.
But most productivity hacks are a waste of time. Doing more in less time risks skipping the fundamentals.
“Workaholics aren't heroes. They don't save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is already home because she figured out a faster way to get things done.”
Unlike making art, busy work isn't always meaningful work. You can only get so good at Twitter and email.
When you're creating something, at least the purpose is self-expression. Even when you plant seeds and nurture the crops you get something back in return.
Let's be honest: What did you really do with all that “work” you put in?
The to-do list can wait.
Maybe the best way to get things done is to pursue more play, to disconnect from the tyranny of doing stuff entirely.
Arbitrary resets are more fruitful. Some of the best ideas emerge through a conversation with a friend or a solo walk in the park. Disengaging helps you out of your own head.
So what's the work that's worthwhile and enjoyable? Probably the vocation that lets you feel the most human, so you can less time acting like a machine and more time doing something fun, interesting, or remarkable.
We don’t make art because we need to. We do it because we have to. It’s not just an addiction; it is therapy.
Without our work or side projects we are an empty shell. Each project gives us meaning.
Yet, the tendency to overthink our work’s value often misconstrues the act of performing it. Sometimes making stuff doesn’t need thought nor interpretation. Like laughter, it just is.
The power to take a picture, draw, run a science experiment, or just write clears the fog of perfection or the need to appease others. The end product is not always for Instagram but for us. Art constitutes our thought’s core.
The homogeneity of stuff begs our mind to make what’s unique to the person. Limits are self-inflicted. Artists are inspired individuals.
Creativity dwindles with age. First, school sucks it out you and then corporate work puts the nail in the coffin.
Patterns of normality and absolutes are leaches. Like a mind virus, they kill off organic reflexes whereas cultivating the imagination sings with possibilities.
If you're lucky, you'll have no choice but to follow the siren song of vocation. If that's an artist, great, if it's a bank teller, ditto. Whatever calling comes your way, make the follow-up deliberate and worthy.
Don't let your ambition slip out of sight.
“Try not to get a job. Try to leave yourself in a position where you do the things you want to do with your time and where you take maximum advantage of wherever your possibilities are.”
Remote but close enough to remain within earshot. The artist beckons for renewal but never wants complete anonymity.
Purpose-driven, looking for a way of life rather than chasing the material. The artist strives to stay in form all year round like a professional athlete. Except his work never retires, it only gets ‘abandoned' as Leonardo da Vinci once proclaimed.
Amid convention and rebellion, the artist vacillates from Jeckyl to Hyde.
The artist uses cash to pay for the sex — the stuff they wish they were doing for a living. Vivian Maier was a babysitter who in her off-hours roamed the streets of Chicago with her 35mm color camera capturing beautiful everyday moments.
Maier didn’t have Instagram so she kept all the film to herself, under her bed where they were discovered fifty years later.
We all have a special genius or talent hidden in the fabric of our virulent selves. Neither fame nor fortune, expression is as essential as your day job.
That’s the metaphor best-selling author Karl Ove Knausgaard uses to cure writer’s block. Writes Quartzy:
“Writer’s block, to the extent it exists, stems from a suspicion that your work may not be great, and a reluctance to face that fact. When you’re always polishing the car, as Knausgaard puts it, you never go anywhere. That means you won’t get in an accident or discover that the places in your imagination weren’t that great in reality, but it also means you can never find out what’s truly possible, what you are actually capable of accomplishing.”
Perfection is the work of the devil. If you want to go somewhere, you’re going to have to set a schedule and show up to work consistently.
The habit of writing daily is like practicing bicep curls or brushing your teeth, to the point you’ll feel empty when you don’t do it.
It is anticipation that’s the real mind killer. One would rather scratch the itch then toil in the inertia of what ifs?
Only when you start any activity does the fear dissipate. Remember Nelson Mandela’s motto: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
So set a daily goal and stick to it regardless of your excuses.