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Arts Creativity Productivity & Work

Doing something is better than doing nothing

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.

Show up and do the work

Even more, two things happen when you show up to produce every day.

1. Your craft improves.

2. You establish an archive of work to pull from.

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.

“The unknown was my compass.”

Anais Nin

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.

The best thinking emerges when you give your work time to breathe. Reflection increases the sophistication of one’s knowledge and experience.

Through this journey, it’ll start to become clear what types of trade 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 requires diligence, impatience with action, and patience with trial and error.

The professional shows up on both the good days and the bad days to hack away at their inner genie. There are zero shortcuts to building quality and long-lasting output.

gif by youngcoconut

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Creativity Life & Philosophy Poetry Productivity & Work

Open to detours

Open to detours, fixated with the wrath of curiosity. The single-minded goal-setter scrounges for practice.

In theory, doggedness is the least path of resistance. Like sheep, we’re a magnet for jumping through hoops.

But we can’t afford to put the right brain to sleep. Quiescent until unmoored from reality, the maker begs to turn pipe dreams into miracles.

The creative compulsion knows no boundaries. It explodes in those non-cash working hours when you’re raging with inspiration and where the notion of work and play intertwine.

“The physical universe is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t have a destination that it ought to arrive at. But it is best understood by its analogy to music. Because music as an art form is essentially playful. We say you play the piano, you don’t work the piano.”

Alan Watts

We’re programmed to be ourselves, following the siren song of our vocation. Fight our calling, and we’ll lose. There will be no such luck.

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Creativity Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Social Media

The student never graduates

Learning stops in adulthood because people think all they’ll be doing the rest of their lives is working. But the cubicle, formerly called the ‘action of office,’ is where ideas and learning go to die.

You can put your head down and work for the same company for 20 years if you want. You’ll gain title and support the family. Everything will be safe and stable.

But you’ll never use up all your vacation days. You’ll get stuck in the maelstrom of email and meetings and come out feeling no smarter than where you started. Even worse, no company offers pensions these days.

Learning is a life-long endeavor

You can attach all the meaning you want to your job, but it’ll never replace the significance of continued learning that the Internet makes so accessible.

Tools for continued learning in adulthood include podcasts, tweets, blogs, newsletters, and a place to synthesize it all — whether that be your notebook or a blog.

The best part about the web is that most of the information is free, like air, minus a few paywalls. And yes, being a paid subscriber to a few respectable publications will make you appreciate shared intelligence even more.

Reading the right stuff can give you the knowledge and motivation to do your job better.

Sustenance, or in some cases chasing the Benjamins, is no substitute for education. Throwing in the towel helps nothing but time fly, a distraction from the things that matter.

Business isn’t necessarily learning. It’s just business.

Categories
Books Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

‘She ignored whatever did not interest her’

She ignored whatever did not interest her. With those blows she opened her days like a piñata. A hundred freedoms fell on her. She hitched free years to her lifespan like a kite tail. Everyone envied her the time she had, not noticing that they had equal time.

Annie Dillard, The Maytrees

A wonderful perspective on life and work as we go into the New Year and new decade.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Work x “Work”

There are two types of work:

  1. Work that you do for fun
  2. Work that pays the bills

The first is sexy and fuels your creativity. These are typically side projects that you wish would one day turn into a long-term job that pays the bills.

The second type of work is the one you do to live. These are your standard projects and office jobs that support a commercial company. They’re not sexy but they’re reassuring and provide enough cash flow to do more creative work.

The difference between the sexy and the dependable types of work is what Hugh MacLeod calls the Sex and Cash Theory.

There’s always friction to create stuff that matters, at least to you, versus creating stuff that maintains someone else’s bottom line. Both nonetheless complement each other as an influence of skills. It’s all practice, anyway.

The end-goal for all creators is the fusion of sex and cash, to get paid for doing what you love. But even that sometimes runs its course. Whatever you end up doing, at work or on the side, make it a good one!

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Tech

Making meaning removes meaning

gif by John Walters

Making meaning removes meaning. What we make is what we want to make. The only supervisor is ourselves.

But we do need signals — something that tells us that we’re moving in the right direction.

“The muse has to know where to find you.”

Billy Wilder

Accept professions but don’t become them

Tied up in labor, we forget that the day job is the means of survival. Home is where the real sex happens, where we enjoy the liberty to play and rage into our work.

Doing the work we enjoy is the best use of our time. After all, more time is better than money.

Paradoxically, everything we don’t want to do feeds our basic survival. That’s why such priorities always feel somehow aslant.