Practicing Creativity

Move at an enjoyable pace

Maintaining an appropriate pace is a key creative skill. Pace is influenced by many factors:

  • Encountering the chaos monkey. Your own energy level may be drained or unfocused. In the middle of a crisis, both the pace and scale of work may need adjustments. See Productivity in Quarantine thread.
  • Project length. Your sprinting pace is not the same as your marathon pace. A different strategy is necessary for long term projects vs. short term experiments. Plan patient, executable strategies to maintain pace over a long term. For short term or experimental projects, Go brrr.
  • Phase in the creative cycle. In the cycle of any creative project (Creativity is cyclical), different moments will require moving at different paces—sometimes fast, loose, and rough, sometimes slow, careful, and specific.
  • Personal engagement. If you're not deeply interested in a project, you're more likely to alternate between Hurrying and delaying. You'll hurry to get it done faster, or procrastinate to avoid doing it at all. Personal engagement varies over time, so choosing the right moment for the right task is helpful.
  • Personal skill. If the project is in a new skill area, you may not know when to adjust your pace, and may also experience Hurrying and delaying due to uncertainty.

A common Resistance trap is Hurrying and delaying—moving too fast or too slow. Another common trap is assuming that fast is always better than slow—commonly found in The cult of productivity—or that slow is always better than fast. The antidote is to Set pace by paying attention to enjoyable usefulness. Rather than measuring pace by efficiency, practicality, or to-do list checks, move at a pace that feels good. The pace that feels good may not be the most practical or efficient. It may not lead to "getting things done" quickly, or it may be faster than you're normally comfortable with, so paying careful attention to the quality of the time and sorting out what "clicks" is an essential skill.

"The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. Then, when you’re no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn’t just a means to an end but a unique event in itself." Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

“We want to make good time but for us now this is measured with emphasis on ‘good’ rather than ‘time’ and when you make that shift the whole approach changes.” Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

“Thinking about things at great leisure and length without being hurried and without feeling you’re losing time.” Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

"Things of quality have no fear of time."

"Hurried work is worried work." Keith McGillivray

“Wanting to be done with something isn’t a good reason to do it.” John Gordon

Student: It could take a while.
John Gordon: That's all right. There's no deadlines in this course.

“Write quickly but not in a hurry.” Buster Benson Link

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These are my draft notes on creativity—as a skill, a practice, and a mystery

Plan patient, executable strategies
At times when a creative project has an unclear direction, feels overwhelmingly large, or requires more consistency than intensity, find ways to organize creative work into cyclical units such that: "completing more of those activities will reliably bring you closer to the goal" "each activity consumes a predictable amount of effort" "each activity feels doable" "little effort is required to select and plan an activity" Source This encourages moving at enjoyable pace and evens out tendencies toward hurrying or delaying by both setting boundaries and reducing friction

Go brrr
There's an Internet meme: "haha money printer go brrr

About Practicing Creativity

These are my notes on creativity—as a skill, a practice, and a mystery. Everything you find here is in a perpetual draft state and much of it may not make sense. I hope these notes become clearer over time as I continue writing and updating them, although I hope they might be useful even in disarray.

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