Lessons from 397 days of daily content grind
Creativity is a skill.
Writing is also a skill. Painting is a skill. Playing an instrument and singing is something to learn and master. Filming is a skill, and video editing too. And you can learn it all, or at least things you’re interested in. You can learn how to channel your creativity and finish marvelous projects, even if you’re born with two left feet.
If you invest 80hr weeks for two years with no excuses, you will leap so far ahead. Your competition will never catch up (or so they say.)
What does creativity-on-demand lead to
- You can live on your time.
- Creativity can save your job from automation.
- You may develop top-of-the-foodchain skills that will help you lead a more comfortable life, working fewer hours.
- Early retirement. You could build a business that could sustain your lifestyle for the rest of your life.
- More time for projects that you truly care about — less work for the sake of paying rent and buying groceries.
- You can build the freedom to travel the world whenever, wherever.
- You can choose your boss. My boss is my audience and my clients, not corporate middle-management.
Writers wouldn’t finish a blog post if they sat around, waiting for inspiration to strike
I’m not a great writer, and I’m certainly not a great businessman. I wouldn’t consider myself an artist either, although lately, I’m clinging more to that idea.
However, I publish content every day of the week — no days or weeks off. I’m not a cybernetic organism. I travel, host dinner parties, and indulge in reckless dares with my close friends. No matter what I do, writing is a non-negotiable part of my day.
Creativity is a muscle, and you can train it to produce results on command — just like you can train your biceps to lift heavier objects.
The days you feel the lowest are the most important days. If you survive through your low days, you can make the best of your luck in your good days. Nobody is born with all the talents, answers, and witts. And certainly, nobody has the ultimate motivation that comes every day.
Invest a constant portion of time into building something. Think of it as walking or reading. The more time you invest, the easier it becomes to do more.
Find your peak productivity hours
Investing 80hr a week can be hopeless if you aimlessly work around the clock.
Sadly, building a wonderful future is not a straightforward path with linear gains. You can hustle around the clock and still ruin every project you touch. Think of those blogs with thousands of articles and zero views and comments.
Time invested doesn’t necessarily equal better results.
Business Insider has recently picked up a story about my freelancing schedule. Life can be miserable if you’re fighting an avalanche of client messages every day, asking for revisions and offering new job opportunities. I realized that working in my most productive hours and batching each task can drive more value for everyone involved in the business.
Certain times of day are more productive than others. If I write in the morning, I can finish 3 articles instead of writing just one in the afternoon. Similar, seamless inspiration hits late at night, just before sleep. The reason why is up for debate, but it shows that certain times of day are better for certain types of work.
Morning and late-night are best for conjuring new ideas.
I still don’t understand the anti-productivity movement
The latest self-health trend is focused on bashing productivity.
While it’s all right to watch Netflix and procrastinate, you can’t expect the same results as someone who has invested those hours into building a business.
Many confuse productivity and effectiveness.
People can be productive but not effective, producing the wrong output. You can write the Magna Carta and still fail to attract website visitors for your Avocado dish recipes.
The underlying idea is not to waste time. Time is the only commodity you have in super-limited quantity. You can’t ever get back the lost time. So, why should you splurge the currency you don’t have? Would you raise a car loan if you don’t have any income? Don’t waste what you barely have.
Staying productive and effective lets you enjoy more time with your family, friends, and partners, doing stuff you love doing the most. If I can travel, host dinner parties, and still write every day, so can you too.
Move fast and break things
You can create content the whole damn day and still fail to ship a single blog article, TikTok video, or a YouTube Vlog. In internet times, shipping is more important than perfectionism or producing a perfect story.
My first book was an utter disaster. I self-published it in early 2019, after writing the thing for 3 weeks. I published a few Medium stories earlier, but nothing really struck the chord. So, I published a book and received instant feedback. Fast forward two years down the road, and I’m about to publish two books this March.
If you learn from your feedback, you can actually grow your creative imagination.
Don’t glorify your mistakes, but don’t limit your work over the possibility of failure in a low-risk environment. As long as you’re not socially insensitive and sprawling hatred, you don’t have to fear the internet’s reckoning. produce content, and make typos (not on purpose but because you move fast.) You can fix the mistakes worth fixing later on.
Your tribe will support you even if you have a few headline typos. My latest viral story has a typo in one of the headings. I’m far from proud of it, but the story is making rounds and money.
Deliver value for your reader, and let go of internal naysayers.
Focus on continuously being useful, and authenticity will follow
Seth Godin loves to hate on authenticity in his riffs.
“Authenticity is overrated. Authenticity is a trap. Because the last time you were authentic, you were three months old lying in diapers with poop in them, crying. Ever since then, you have done things with intent.”
And here’s another one from the same book.
“Please, fake being the best surgeon in the world today, ’cause that’s what I hired, and that’s what I need.”
I agree. Authenticity is overrated. Being authentic is not what most people want, and what most people want is not authentic nor unique.
Focus on continuity and value. Your value will eventually become unique as you find and put the missing puzzles together. Move like water, and fill in the cracks and gaps with your work, and you’ll become authentic in no time.
Become a CEO of your life
You are a company.
Think of your skills as products and services.
When I started freelancing on Upwork, I realized that life gave more than two options. You don’t have to work for a boss or build an audience to survive. You can become a company, and a company usually makes more money than an individual.
My monthly income rose by $2,000 on average with freelancing gigs. I felt like a place you can call from yellow pages to come and fix your furniture, or in my case, write content for your website.
In hindsight, here’s the whole perspective.
You’re not working for a company. The company is renting your service for the time being. The change of perspective lets you unshackle from the idea that you need a job with one company to pay rent and buy food. Once you see yourself as a service provider, it becomes hard to miss all the extra opportunities in your environment. Freelancing? Why not. Building a community park? Hey, I know a thing or two about engineering. Opening an NFT Art Gallery? I always loved artistic expression.
Once you realize your versatility, you can accomplish more.
Find inspiration in others
Not every day is all rainbows and teddy bears.
You can inspire yourself only so often before you start feeling hollow about everything you do. Depression is inherent to human nature. Connect with others and their stories to build your inner resolve. Here’s a great example.
Quadriplegic people run some of the top blogs on the planet.
Visit Unstoppable, SmartBlogger, or any other quadriplegic writer’s playground if you feel like you’re down on your motivation. The experience is humbling and can install hope to finish your writing for the day.
“But I’m still here. Not only have I survived my condition, but I’ve built a life most people only dream about.” — Jon Marrow, a millionaire writer who can’t move anything besides his face.
Creativity on demand is possible, and it can help you create a retirement plan
Find your inner artist who wants to connect with the world. Practice your creativity. Ship stuff daily, and learn from your mistakes. Mistakes of others are not as personal, nor they carry the same emotional trigger.
I’ve built 3 lifestyle businesses in the past year following these principles. I knew nothing about NFT galleries before starting LondonPunks. I didn’t know much about writing before writing my first novel. And I didn’t know much about marketing before starting up 2 Minute Madness.
Freelancing was a black patch of Millennial unemployment before my Upwork account helped me earn over $11k in the first six months.
Creativity on demand connects the underlying reason for all these businesses.
Practice yours because it may just save your life.