If I had one wish for makers and builders of things, it would be that we never heard the word “creative.” I’d rebrand the type of career path we dub “creative careers,” and I’d strip away all the moments we use the very word “creative” — and there are many. We refer to people who make stuff we admire as “creative,” while some industries even call the professionals who make stuff “creatives.” All of this hides the truth:
Our jobs aren’t to “be creative.” Our jobs are to create.
We spend so much time debating, questioning ourselves, thinking we can find THE answer somewhere out there, or meet with one more person to pick their brains, or go on another YouTube or podcasting or article binge to gain inspiration. We hop between processes and note-taking apps — or maybe a new notebook? — and tinker with tools and technologies, all professing to help us “be creative.” In all of it, the most important thing is missing: creating stuff.
It’s not glamorous. It’s not public. It’s a grind of constant improvement, of gnawing on lots of problems in private, and fighting with lots of projects we inevitably put out publicly. It’s constant forward motion — because that’s all careers really are, in the end — with the goal of constant improvement as we move forward.
We can use side projects, community projects, or work projects. It doesn’t matter. What matters isn’t that we have THE idea. What matters is we turn ideas into action. That’s how we can take that next step forward, or attract that one person, which turns into two, which turns into three. The results compound across years and years of daily creative practice.
Just make a ton of stuff, consistently, all the time. You’ll be amazed by what happens.
Stop trying to “be creative.” Go create. Share your work. Get feedback. Improve. Every. Single. Stinking. Day. Forever.
That’s all a “creative career” really is.
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