This video has been suggested to me by the YouTube algorithm every day for the past week and I finally caved and watched it. And it was good.
I really like his takeaway about productivity: It's all about singular focus (which is why I think "batching" is such a popular concept). And the idea that all anyone needs is a mission, an outlet, and energy. It got me thinking about common complaints I hear from art-makers:
- Mission - Have you ever had time to make art but felt stuck and/or overwhelmed? It might be because you don't have a clear mission.
- Outlet - To me, this is the time/space/supplies/skills issue. You want to create. You know what you want to create. But there's a barrier to getting it done. Most of the time it comes down to time, space, supplies, and/or skills. You can overcome all of those barriers, but it involves work and compromise and commitment. (For more on this continue on to the article I've linked below.)
- Energy - Are you too tired after a long day at work to do anything creative? You're not alone. It's not easy to "get more energy." In my current season of life, I have the most energy earlier in the day. When the baby goes down for his nap, I'm full of pep. When he goes to sleep at night, I'm pretty wrung out. I used to think I should therefore tackle my administrative tasks during the "good" part of the day. I'm much happier since I decided to flip it around and do creative work early and administrative stuff later in the day.
It's so clear how getting stuck on any one of these points can be detrimental to getting anything done creatively. Or feeling good about what you've done.
Serendipitously, my friend Sheeri sent me a great article about long feedback loops. (Read it. It's short and worth it.)
In essentials, it's about the idea that short feedback loops (instant gratification) is addictive.
- When you're not very skilled, you get lots and lots of instant gratification as you quickly improve.
- When you're more skilled, the improvements are slower and more subtle. It's harder to see the growth. Your desire to "work at it" may wane. This is a long feedback loop.
For me, as a teacher and coach, I see a lot of students in the short feedback loop stage. I get to live vicariously through their short feedback loops. Their excitement and delight reminds me of how far I've traveled in my own journey as an artist. It's extremely helpful in propelling me forward through my own long feedback loop. It's one of the many selfish reasons that I enjoy teaching.
I hope the video, the linked article, and this blog post have all given you some food for thought. For me, art making is an intellectual as well as an aesthetic and physical pursuit.
Thanks for stopping by!