Tips for Getting Some Real Creative Work Done
Very few people ever sit around and plan to become dissatisfied workers, doing jobs that they ultimately find meaningless, and unfulfilling. All the same, too many people find themselves living what Henry David Thoreau described as “lives of quiet desperation.”
Still, bills need to be paid, and people often feel that they have few options when it comes to the kind of work they perform.
And yet, the digital age has brought many new possibilities to the fore, and has presented us all with a slew of technologies and opportunities for creating our professional lives, according to the templates that we find most fulfilling.
What’s more, many great books have been written in recent times on why innovation is important, and why one of the best ways of ensuring you have job security going forward, is to do work that involves a high degree of personal investment, creative thinking, and nuanced and unique perspectives.
So, whether you’re trying to write a novel, or want to start your own business, what does it take to really do “real creative work” effectively? Well, here are some thoughts.
Reduce distraction as much as possible to free up the time and energy for meaningful work
These days, distraction is more ubiquitous than it has ever been before in human history. How often have you sat in your office, or at your desk at home, with plans to do great and meaningful things, only to find hours slipping away courtesy of a YouTube clickhole?
The simple fact is, time is always at a premium, and there is never enough time to do every possible thing that you might want to do, while also wasting significant amounts of it on idle forms of entertainment.
The first rule of doing real and effective creative work must be that you reduce distraction as much as possible. That means, perhaps, installing web blockers, unplugging your videogame consoles, and putting your phone on “do not disturb.”
It’s not just that you need to free up the time to do creative work. You also need to free up the mental energy for it. That means less distraction.
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Create with the door closed, optimise with the door open
The author Stephen King once advised aspiring writers to “write with the door closed, and edit with the door open.”
The idea here is that to do creative work, you need to let go of your tendency to censor and edit in the process of creation, and instead should get the “first draft” done, and only then bring in external feedback, and allow your critical voice to kick in.
The same principle applies to all creative pursuits, in life and business.
When creating something, you need to do it in a free, relaxed, and non-judgemental way. Then, to make it good, you need to polish and optimise it with a critical eye, and with the feedback of other people.
Take risks, and be persistent
In a conventional job setting, you generally have a pretty good idea of what you should be doing at any given moment, and a pretty clear incentive. You know that if you meet your deadlines, you will be rewarded, and if you don’t meet them, you will be scolded and perhaps lose your job.
Creative work is less clear-cut. Success can often only be measured in the long term. This means you need to be able to step into the unknown, take risks, and perhaps most of all be persistent.
Develop a thick skin, and become comfortable with pushing forward, despite uncertainty.
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