by • June 23, 2014 • LifestyleComments Off465

Creative space and empty weeks

I was always busy in London. Lots of connections and meetings and introductions and so on. And after 4 years, I hadn’t made any progress on my top creative priority (a book, in my case).

Some people would say that means I didn’t care enough about it. Or else I would have made time. But I’m not sure making a few hours here and there can help. I think you need all your time. Or at least enough that the project in question is your top priority. As soon as I moved to a country where I had no professional network and no meetings, the writing came easily[1].

Creative projects don’t run off a todo list. There aren’t little tasks you can pick off and work on after hours. Resig runs his side projects by writing code every day. That’s exactly what doesn’t work for me.

Instead, what works for me is to clear entire weeks (or ideally months) and then bore myself into creativity. I don’t really set a goal; I just guard my calendar until my brain  reactivates and starts doing non-critical (aka creative) things.

The last couple months have been a real creative slump. I’ve been on-site with clients (who I love) for a lot of it, and at conferences or in recovery mode for the rest. Maybe I could have beaten myself up over the lack of creative output, but there’s only so much energy available in each day, and currently it’s going somewhere else.

I’ve got 3 more weeks that are pretty intense, and then I’ve scheduled several months of blank time to say “no” to everything and get excited about the big projects again. NNT calls it reductive treatment. You fix the problem by taking stuff away, rather than by adding. I suspect a lot of problems can be solved by being less busy.


[1] If the project you want to free yourself for is non-revenue-generating, then you need to learn how to make money first. But often the project in question is also your source of current or future income, and you’re letting it die a death by a thousand cuts through meetings and minutia.

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