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“Piece of pie.” — Donatello

Creating Consistently

Creating is awesome. Creating consistently is even better. Here are some strategies for being consistent in your creative endeavors.

I’ve spent the last month blogging every day, but this isn't the first time I’ve regularly put stuff out online. I posted every single day in 2010 and I’ve averaged a post a week since 2011.

Harness Inspiration

When you have an idea, stop and get it down. If you have move things around enough to write the full post, that is great. If not, spend 5 minutes making an outline that you can flesh out later.

Don’t Wait for Perfection

Getting over your fear of shipping is necessary to producing content consistently.

  • Not everything needs to be groundbreaking. People are encountering something new for the first time every single day. I bet you have many things you can introduce people to.
  • Ignore other people. Constructive feedback is one thing, but if it isn’t coming from people who also consistently produce content, ignore it and move on. In the words of Phife Dawg in Scenario:

Bo knows this (what?) and Bo knows that (what?)
But Bo don’t know jack, cause Bo can’t rap

I reread The War of Art or Turning Pro, both by Steven Pressfield, at least once a year to get back on track with shipping.

Remove Barriers

When you are tired and don’t want to produce, any barrier can be turned into an excuse to wait until the next day. Remove as many barriers as you can.

  • If you are a drawer or designer, carry your sketchbook around with you.
  • If you paint, carry a mini watercolor set with you.
  • If you podcast, record voice memos to while you walk or drive that can be spliced into usable segments.
  • If you are a web developer, use Keyboard Maestro or Text Expander to automate launching your entire development environment.

Take Cues from Daily Life

Everything you do in your daily life presents you with a chance to create. Writing is the most obvious because you can write about situations, problems, and things you’ve learned. You can also apply this to other forms of creation:

  • We took a day trip from LA to Joshua Tree National Park a few weeks ago, so a few days later I wrote an itinerary for others to follow.
  • I went to the Hudson River Museum with some friends, so I took notes and wrote a post with interesting facts about the Hudson.
  • Both Amanda and I write about problems we solve at work.
  • I spend a part of every work day solving tech problems, so I generalize the specific issues and write tech tutorials that others can use.
  • I take photos whenever I cook anything new, so if it turns out really well I have visuals that I can turn into a full post on Cook Like Chuck.
  • I take photos of what I eat out and write down tasting notes so that I can use those flavors in my own cooking.
  • If you are a visual artist, take lots of photos of things that inspire you throughout the day and make a point to revisit them each time you sit down to work.
  • If you are a podcaster, take 5 minutes out of every hour to make voice memos about what you are thinking about.
  • If you build houses, keep architecture notes and take photos of things that inspire you. Go through them before you start drafting your next project.

Keep Lists

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Orange is drafted, green is published.

Play the Long Game

Playing the long game can mean two things:

  1. Notes and photos taken today can be combined and used any time in the future. If you get in the habit of building things up over time, you will set future you up for success.

Product Manager at Praxis, photographer, and problem solver. In my spare time I read, cook, and make data visualizations.

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