By “war room” I mean whatever room (or park or beach) on this great blue Earth I’m currently working out of. :)
I really do feel like I’m fighting a war. My enemy is normality.
Ever since I was a small child I’ve done things a little bit differently, sometimes on purpose and sometimes not. Whether that was playing with weird chemicals that I probably shouldn’t have been playing with at age 8 and creating a stink bomb in a test tube (which I subsequently smashed in our front yard), mowing an Anarchy symbol in my Parents’ lawn and calling it a day at age 13, or quitting my very last job (in the Business School of Wayne State University) when I was 19 and getting fired an hour later. (That’s a funny story for another day.)
Where I’m going with this is that we all have different processes for doing whatever we do. I like reading about how other people create and I think that’s probably why I love reading autobiographies. It’s cool to get personal insights into how and why people do what they do.
With that all stated, here is my creative process. It has changed over the years and continues to change, but here it is at this very moment:
Don’t Force It, But Force It
I’ve mentioned it many times already, but before this blog started I spent 30 days writing at least 1,000 words every single day. It was my way of forming the habit and getting into the flow of writing blog posts. Nowadays I don’t work like that. Sometimes I write 5,000 words in a couple hours because they keep coming and sometimes I only write a few hundred words in a few minutes and stop.
I don’t force anything. When inspiration comes I grab hold and go along for the ride. That mofo might take me places I didn’t expect to go or it might drop me off exactly where I was expecting in a timely fashion. Whatever happens, I stick around for the duration.
I force everything. Because I’ve honed inspiration in such a way, I know it will come. So in a way, it’s almost like I forced it. A better way to put it may be that I ordered it to pay me a visit. This is part of going pro. Once you tell yourself you’ve gone pro, a mental shift happens in a way that I can’t explain unless it has happened to you.
It’s important to force it until you form the habit. Then you don’t have to force it anymore. Remember when I quit drinking last September? Since that time I’ve had a few drinks, but the habit of not drinking is in place and I don’t have to force it anymore. You can do the same, with literally anything.
I dislike schedules and I don’t use a calendar. But I do have a work schedule. It’s this: every day (for as little or as much as I feel like that particular day). I may not stick to it gung-ho 365 days/year, but I do work on something most days. Here’s the kicker: it’s not because I have to. It’s because I want to.
When I was in high school I worked at a car dealership doing all their computer stuff. To everybody else at that dealership it was rocket science. To me, it was like 1st grade math. In other words, I’d get a week’s worth of work done in a day. Instead of sticking around (and getting paid more) I’d leave and play guitar or hang out with friends. Why? Because I hated that work. I just wanted it to be over.
What I do nowadays keeps me up at night with excitement. It’s not work when you love it.
Even if you’re currently working a dreaded day job you can actively seek out projects and a way of life that you’re passionate about. (That’s not an affiliate link. Use code ‘freedom’ to get 25% off for a few more days.)
MIIMIO (Most Important In Most Important Out)
Now I’m getting all computer-sciencey and coming up with acronyms based on data storage algorithms. Shoot me. (Please don’t, unless it’s with a water gun, in which case, I challenge you to a duel!) If you’ve had a math or computer background you’re probably familiar with FIFO: First In First Out.
My take on FIFO is MIIMIO, Most Important In Most Important Out. That is, I have a most important task that I need to complete and everything else is ignored until that’s done. BUT, and there is always a BUT, that doesn’t mean I don’t work on other things. Huh? Whatchyou talkin’ bout Karol?
For example, my current most important task is getting How To Live Anywhere finished (almost done, I’m loving it!). But I still have blog posts I want to write and awesome people to interact with (that’s you) via comments/e-mails.
What I mean by MIIMIO is that I don’t take on another big project while I’m already focusing on a big project. Do I have ideas for other big projects? Yes. Can they wait until this project is done? Yes.
Do you take on too many tasks at once? Don’t worry, most people do. Just remember MIIMIO and you’ll be golden.
Is There A Better Way?
Yes. Whatever works for you is the better way.
That’s where you come in. I want to know, what does your creative process look like? How do you structure (or un-structure) your days?