What Makes You A Better Creative? Volume.

Two men looking at some photos on a wall while a lady looks at her phone.

I don’t mean quantity over quality. That would be a poor way to look at it! Instead, try to see that quantity is the pathway to quality.

By the end of this, you’ll see what I’ve learned about accelerating my creative process.

The idea is to create, and create a lot. But why don’t creatives do this?

Too many times I see people falling into the trap of trying to create the ‘perfect’ thing. Blindly hoping that no one will see the excuse that it is. Our ego sells us a powerful illusion – one in which we seem to be this all knowing creative that is extremely in touch with what is ‘perfect.’ This results in countless unfinished works, or massive amounts of time between projects.

I’d like to propose that this is robbing us of the chance to better our craft. I want to go a step further and suggest that it’s self-sabotage. No one is trying to hold you back, and nothing is forcing you to stop growing – except your ego, which is your self. Letting your pride hide your fear and insecurities isn’t helping either.

The Excuses

What I usually hear (and used to say myself) is ‘I don’t want to release bad quality work, I know what I’m capable of!’ To which I say, “I agree, you are capable of doing great work, but how do you know what is really good quality?” Now, I want to mention that there are people who know what needs to be done to create a better work, and have learned this by making mistakes in the past. That, or they are able to identify quality based on their observations of what is currently available in the created world, and spend a lot of time researching and studying it. This message isn’t for them, it’s for the people who don’t have much output to begin with. Who haven’t even created the work of quality that they have in mind yet.

I’m calling BS on that desire to be perfect, which is limiting you from finishing. Your approach to creative work is from the perspective of the master craftsman, not the apprentice learner. That is a clear indication of ego. And it is robbing you. Don’t get me wrong — I believe it’s the good to have a desire to create perfect things. The desire itself isn’t the issue. You being crippled as a result, is.

Feedback Systems

I hold a degree in Electrical Engineering (whatever that means) and one of the most important things I learnt was regarding feedback in systems. When a system has a feedback loop as part of its design, it will always perform better than one without. (For all those who care, it comes at a loss of speed, but accuracy and precision are prioritized more – so there’s a trade off.)

If you just zoned out, I don’t blame you! I struggled through school myself!

As a creative, if you don’t have feedback built into your process, you’re shooting in the dark. You’re blindly attempting to move forward based on limited, and often, inaccurate information.

To make this super practical, I’ll explain what I’ve come to see as the solution. Create lots of smaller, more agile pieces. Do it often. If you’re a songwriter, try writing a small song every day. If you’re a painter, try one micro-piece every other day! As a photographer – well, why not 3 a day? Then release it into the world. Show people! Stand behind it and be proud of your work. Listen to what comes back, even if it’s harsh – it’s all so valuable to you! They’re critical because they see the potential for something better. Take what they’re saying about your work – and apply it to the next! Learn from it, grow. Create, release, engage with feedback, learn, repeat. Do this until you start noticing the results. Which should be in under 3 months.

Agility Will Help You

Be agile, have smaller pieces that are quick to execute on. Don’t get bogged down in undefined scopes. Limit yourself to clear timeframes (e.g I can only film for half a day, and edit + release for the second half.) and stick to your scopes. Of course you can have bigger projects going on. But do them in parallel with your smaller pieces, so that you’re always creating, always releasing, always failing, always listening and always learning – because only then do you grow.

Try it for this next year, and by the end of it – if you haven’t transcended far beyond where you would have been otherwise, I’d be surprised. I doubt that will happen though. Although, I think you’ll notice pleasant results immediately.

This is my current strategy, and it’s already been rapidly changing my creative process and ability. If you want to see what I’m up to personally – I’m going to be releasing it pretty soon! Keep an eye out on Instagram and the website over the next month!

Thanks for reading! I’m currently building a digital first interactive agency to help businesses effectively and creatively market themselves. Click here to learn more about what we do at Sons & Valor.