I started this blog because I have issues with motivation and productivity (and probably self-control). I love to be creative, but I hate to make the time for it because there are so many things to get done every day. Mostly work and/or survival related things, also known as the boring and tedious ins-and-outs of daily life. This is adulting. I usually hate adulting.
Like many others, I have trouble making that time for creativity, but I'm fully aware of it and I'm pretty sure that knowing is half the battle. (Just ask the professionals at GI Joe). Over the years I have found that I can only be productive in a creative way under certain circumstances:
First, there is the setting and second, the deadline. In terms of setting I am an unabashed night owl. I thrive on the dark and stillness of night like an emo kid still reeling from the most recent (and most important ever) break up. However, even late at night when the setting is perfect for me, I still need to motivate myself...otherwise I end up like 'Sand-man' - i.e. "I'll just stay at home and fiddle with my phone on da toilet".
Secondly, I must have a deadline. This one absolutely kills me. I'm a laid back dude. Not as laid back as "The Dude*" but I'm closer to that than a go-getter who brags about how early they wake up. I don't take kindly to limitations like 'deadlines'. At least that's what my inner Sam Elliott would say. In reality, the adulting side of me loves deadlines. They allow me to actually get things done.
The problem lies in the fact that the adulting side of me is not creative. That side helps to pay the mortgage but otherwise, he's kinda lame. He doesn't have cool ideas late at night because he goes to bed at a reasonable hour. When he startles awake at 6am he doesn't rush to the keyboard to jam out concepts or scripts**, he does the sensible thing and goes back to bed so that he can be rested for the day to come. He doesn't even do fun things, all he does is make sure the children don't starve. Boring.
Some people call this a conundrum or a dilemma. I call it 'the life of anyone who strives to be creative but also wants to have food to eat.' Those who can overcome this are the ones who break through, so to speak, and get to a place where their income actually comes from being creative instead of adulting.
I've heard that it's possible, I even know people who have done it. All I have to do is... *cough* be the same as them. Sure, that sounds like the perfect basis for being creative. Sarcasm aside, looking for good examples of productive behavior and/or habits is probably not a bad idea. (Maybe I'll get around to that in the near future).
I find myself wondering where inspiration for creativity comes from. The classic story about a writer who must tell stories to deal with inner demons? Some painter who feels and interprets messages from beyond which result in amazing oil paintings? Maybe the musician who is so full of emotions that they just burst out of his or her instrument...
No matter what fanciful explanation one concocts, the one thing that I think is universal is a lack of general comfort in the daily life of the creative type. It seems like people who are perfectly comfortable are not the people who do creative things. The average cubicle-dweller has to work extra hard to reach the place where they can break out of the routines we create for ourselves and really find the time to get into the creative zone. I'm working on this every day and I feel a little bit better with each ounce of conscious effort I put into the process of dismantling the everyday doldrums.
One thing that seems to be helping me is making a conscious effort to set myself up for success instead of for failure. I know that following the same comfortable routines every day is not going to result in productivity. I know that I work best late at night and with a deadline.
So before I switch off Netflix and head up to bed, I'm forcing myself to take a few moments to sit at the keyboard and try to work on something even if it takes some of my precious beauty sleep away from the next morning. I can tell myself that I need to finish a new blog post at least every week so there's a good, solid deadline to meet. I'll be tired either way since I can't ever go to sleep at a reasonable hour. I also will not be more beautiful even if I do get enough sleep. Will this work in the long run? Who knows? I'm writing this blog right now though, it's 2:49 in the morning, and it feels great.
*If you don't know what this refers to, consult Google. Also, you're dead to me.
**Or blog posts...