Get Rid of Your Crutch, and Create!
Have you ever heard this expression, “If I just had more__________, I could be so much more __________”? Come on, fill in the blank—is it time, money, computing power? We’ve all been guilty of this beloved creative excuse at some point in our lives. It’s okay—we’re all human (unless you’re not one, and that’s just weird *turns head in shame*). At the end of the day, what we’re really trying to say is, “I truly am more valuable, I’m just confined by _____” We’re going to talk about this a little bit today, and we’re going to write down a few steps to help make you more successful!
My name is Daniel, and I’m a Mac guy… [large smile, hand wave, wild applause… *crickets*]. At this point, labeling me a ‘creative’ is not only expected, but offensive! #PCLivesMatter! #Machine-ist!?! #Label-maker #Understandable! I enjoy being creative — thinking off my feet, crafting, perfecting, destroying, starting over (if you’re anything like me, #TheStruggleIsReal). But even in the midst of the crazy cycle we go through as creatives, there is a certain amount of gratification we find in expressing ourselves, and completing good work.
Over the past 9 years of my career, my perspective has changed. I once thought I was invincible, and naively believed that Hollywood film studios would one day find me and ask me to create their next Academy Award winning film. Yeah, that all ended the day I was asked to film my first instructional video “in a cinematic way.” #Buzzkill! Long story short, and 9 years later, I’ve discovered that this thing called work is hard, and that in order to get anything good done, there are going to be roadblocks.
Roadblocks are not all bad. In fact, some of them are good! But you have to know which ones to avoid if you are going to be successful. Let’s engage in a creative exercise that is guaranteed to help you win.
To start, let’s write these four things down, and as we go through this blog, take a moment to stop and answer them as we touch upon the subject—
Is what I am doing with what I have lining up with my end goals?
Are my restrictions hindering me, or propelling me forward?
Am I spending enough time with the people in my life? If not, what can I do to fix that?
What relationships do I need to repair so that I may have peace for creative freedom?
Time is adjustable, but it is not replaceable. We must manage our time not only effectively, but also wisely. Is the time you are spending “being creative” costing you your kids’ childhood? Should you be working on something else to make time for another project? Can you combine steps in a project, or combine separate projects together in order to expedite your effectiveness?
Ask yourself, what are your restrictions? Restrictions are not all bad (unless you have a PC, then you’re pretty much doomed!). Some of the most creative pieces, or best movie scenes, or most beautiful pieces of music have come out of restrictions. Think about it—restrictions cause creativity! They force you to use your creative muscle.
We’ve got to start with what is in our hands. If you wait for the perfect camera package to take a picture, you’re never going to photograph anything—therefore you’re never going to grow. Start where you’re at, and grow from there. The opportunity you think you’re missing out on will circle back around. Stick with what is in your hands and grow from there. This will definitely squeeze the creativity out of you!
Let’s take a break. Which of these roadblocks stuck out most to you? Write it down, and ask yourself what you can do about it—today!
Next, we’re going to talk about some ways to avoid, or better manage these roadblocks to enhance and benefit your creative process.
Conquer Your Roadblocks
Ninety percent of the time, I’ve found that my lack of timeliness, or extra time spent at the office was due to a lack of preparation. Set a game plan with timelines and action lists. An hour of preparation beforehand will save you hours of work on the backend—trust me!
Automation is a time saver! Automation is the “A” word of the creative industry. Here, I’ll spell it out,… ”A-b-so-lute-ly not!” But, think about it! Have you ever taken into account how many hours have been spent re-creating and searching through repeatable tasks? Would you rather spend 20 minutes renaming files, or 1 minute with the click of a button (Mac feature) and 19 minutes creating “magic?” Create some templates of spreadsheets you use all the time. Write down a process to your creative methodology so that you’re not tangled up administrating while you’re magic-making!
Just Do It
Stop fumbling around trying to figure out the “magic.” The “magic” will come with experience, and you cannot get experience while you’re trying to figure things out.
If you’re overburdened and have lost your creative drive, it’s usually the lack of delegation. I understand, as a creative we want to create… a lot! We also want to be in charge… of everything! We also don’t care how much time it takes… we will keee-eeep (yawn) pushing until we… (#WakeUpWithKeyboardFace). But the truth of the matter is that time is finite, and not everything can be done when or the way we want to do it. There are things like deadlines, people, and responsibilities that “get in the way.” The only path to success, especially in handling a large project, is to use our time wisely, and ask for help. Push aside the ego, and “give up to go up.”
Realize the Benefits
Yes, making money would technically be beneficial, and feeding your kids would constitute as an excuse to move to the front of the line. But, when a project or task is stealing time from what you are really supposed to be doing, you’ve got to ask yourself, “is this beneficial?” Does it line up with your end goal? Is it worth the time? Is there a better use of your time? Be brutally honest. Find out what you’re good at and make time for that.
Number five, remember people. You may ask, what do people have to do with creativity? The answer is… everything! People enjoy your work, people pay to see it, some people will even pay to see you do your work. Why? Connection. Connecting with people is our most valuable asset. Our work is inspired by our relationship with ourselves, and with other people—and the connection our work has with their hearts. So, make time for your work, but also be sure to make time to connect with other people.
To wrap things up, the truth is simply—we’re all human. We all have the need to feel valuable, and we all feel like we never have enough. But that’s not true! You do have enough. Start with what you have in your hand, and don’t ever let a restriction become a crutch. Use it! Don’t ever let your “creativity” steal your connection with real people. Hey, at the end of our lives we’re going to want people by our sides, not projects. Hopefully these tips will help maximize your workflow, and clear up some of the stuff we creatives struggle with on a daily basis.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel joins the Farmore team with extensive knowledge and expertise in video production and editing. Daniel received his bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Southeastern University and also attended The Los Angeles Film Studies Center. Daniel brings a talent for creative storytelling through video to help serve our clients. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys watching movies, playing basketball, editing video, and spending time with his wife and four kids.