Busyness is a badge of honour in the world of creativity and entrepreneurship. Many trade their social lives and sleep for an imaginary express ticket to success and gratification. However, doing so often leaves you feeling bitter and frustrated when you do not see results quick enough. To make sure you avoid these feelings, we have got six rules to allow you to create freely without the guilt of going to bed before midnight.
Rule 1. List it out:
Write it, type it, draw it — as long as you can visually see what you want to achieve it doesn’t matter how it’s done. Now put it somewhere that you will see every day. Laptop cover, notebook, phone notes, calendar note, whiteboard or a mirror are recommendations I would make.
Why? Once you take the time to think about what steps are needed to complete a task, the way you spend your time will change—no more idle work, or checking emails but real contributions to your goals.
Rule 2. Deadlines:
We all have that project that has gone on way too long, and this rule ties in perfectly with the first one. Look at your project and give yourself a deadline. The newly marked date will get you working with tunnel vision and moving towards completion, leaving room for you to begin working on another project.
Why? It allows you to reach a finish line and can help you create more meaningfully as you know you don’t have the time to explore dead ends. (Don’t fret if you don’t hit your deadline, the important fact is that you were working towards one in the first place.)
Rule 3. Marketing:
Wonder why no one sees your stuff? Maybe it’s because you didn’t think of how they would beyond just uploading it online. Marketing is a craft that has nothing to do with how good you are but how good you are at putting your work in front of the right faces. I would suggest treating projects the way big organisations do and create a marketing strategy.
Why? Well, if you aim to get your work in front of an audience, then research where your audience is. Looking at other work like yours and see what the creator/company did to allow you to come across it. You’ll find a formula that allows for the project to be successful.
Rule 4. Networking:
How are you going to reach the top of the pyramid if you don’t know the people that open the gates? It’s easy to feel nervous or awkward about speaking to people you don’t know, but it’s part of the journey to going up the ranks.
Why? Follow the locations, people and tastemakers on social media and keep an eye out for any launches or events they’re hosting or going to. People are more open to having conversations and hearing about your projects after work hours and make sure you get contact details to follow up with them.
Rule 5. Relaxing:
They say art imitates life, life imitates art, and whatever you believe it doesn’t hurt to make sure your life outside of your work doesn’t suffer while working on the prior rules.
Why? It’s known to be true that the quality of work can drop significantly without breaks. I would even go as far as to say take afternoons off, read and do the things that you love. You might even come back to work refreshed and excited to begin working on your project again.
Rule 6. Practice:
Think of your creative pursuit as a muscle in your body. If you train it with the correct form and eat a good diet, it will get stronger, muscle memory will start to form, and your workouts will be easier, and you’ll be able to push yourself harder. However, if you overwork your muscle, you can damage or strain it. If you just flat out stop working on the muscle, you will lose the muscle memory and be back to square one.
Why? I think people confuse practice with obsession. Practise is getting through the process, editing, getting better etc. Obsession is binging and nitpicking at every choice you make. If you care about succeeding and getting better at your craft, you have to respect the time and process that is associated with getting good at it.
I had to learn about these steps the long way, and it all helped me manage my projects, time and happiness, and I hope it does the same for you. It will be challenging at first, but the long term effects are paramount.
Ever been stuck in a creative rut? Let us know in the comments below what helps you maintain a creative life!
Article by Shaneika Johnson-Simms
Artwork by @cdd20