4. Creativity and Purposeful Activities
Here is where we get to producing art. A creative endeavor is something you do because you have a need to create something, to put something out into the world. Painting, music, writing, or even something like wine making, are realms of passion, not merely realms of economic activity. Creativity is always something more than a job.
A purposeful activity is something different from that in its fundamental drive – things like charity or volunteer work, which are intended to make a difference in the lives of others but aren’t done because there is a need for those things to exist on their own. Likewise, though they may provide economic benefit, they are not something that is done for the purposes of income.
Art is you facing the world, charity is you loving the world.
If you are reading this, passions are probably already a high priority, or you at least desire for them to be a higher priority. When people complain that they don’t have time to create, it is almost always, in my rather large experience, not because they lack the time but because they aren’t prioritizing creative endeavors. That is, they put it at the bottom of the list and are distressed that their achievement is low. Rarely is underachievement the result of overwhelming obligation in other areas.
If this is you, what you first must recognize is that creativity is an obligation, not just an activity to fit into the margins, or something to be done only when you feel like it. Just like how you exercise regularly to stay physically healthy, you must also exercise your creative mind to stay spiritually healthy.
The best way to achieve this, not just for me but for the hundreds (or thousands? I lose count) of students I have had over the years, is to make a daily goal for your creative work. This goal could be time spent, like making sure you are painting at least an hour a day, or it could be a tangible productive goal, like writing one thousand words a day. I’ll talk more about creative processes later.
Putting creativity in the same place as everything else will ensure it becomes a permanent and habitual part of your life. Additionally, if you want to understand the real secret to being prolific, it is consistent work. Doing it daily has always been the best course for every student I have had, and I can usually tell when they have stuck to a practice schedule (speaking mostly of music here). Within a very short time their growth skyrockets. Over time the leaps are gargantuan.
I exercise every day. I also write every day. There are a few exceptions, but these are reasonable, like extreme ill-health or travel. Just writing one thousand words per day will potentially yield three (or even four) full-length novels per year. Impressive!
If you can’t do something every day (and there are good reasons for this – if you have odd work shifts or longer than normal days a few times a week), try to at least be consistent week-to-week. I record most of my YouTube videos on Saturday, and I always have a livestream on Wednesday. That lets me keep my daily work focused on my writing or (if I am in that place) my music.
A note on sub-categories
Just like how you can’t be great at every large area of priority in your life, you can’t be good at all the things which fit into each category. I’m a writer, video content maker, and musician. I can’t be equally good at all of those, so I prioritize writing and other things are forced more into the margins. Some seasons, I switch that, and focus entirely on music or on producing content.
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