Can a creative be productive?

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Mmmmm… let me think…

Many many years ago, a pompous math student argued that artists don’t produce anything of value. I looked at him, just as confused as he looked at me. We simply didn’t get each other. Since then, I’ve thought a lot about what artists in general and musicians in particular bring to the world. I’ve narrowed it down to a simple idea: art brings excitement to our lives. Whether we love or loathe a piece of art, art makes us feel alive. Excitement is what keeps us going. Love, friendship, sky-diving, music, horror movies, adventure books, board games, spirituality, all these occupations give us a sense of purpose. Without any of these, there’s not much left. On the other side of excitement comes boredom, when we struggle to connect our existence with a deeper meaning. An area of my life that has left me feeling dull and unexcited in the past few years is work. * * * In the corporate world, productivity is everything. The employee trades their time for money as companies seek to maximise the return on that particular investment. Depending on the company and employee, the pressure to deliver is more or less humane, often times comparable to caged animals in a zoo. Similar to casinos, it seems, the house always win. Think about it. Let’s say you work full-time in an office for 4,000$/month. That’s about 1,000$/ week which comes down to 200$/working day. That’s what most would consider a good monthly salary, 200$ for about 8 hours of your time. Yet, when the night falls, after you’ve dozed off watching TV, too drained to read a good book, with your laundry still in the dryer and your dirty dishes in the sink, you’ll have one less day to live and 200$ before taxes in your pocket. Chances are you’ll never need all that money and yet, you’ll go back to sit in your cage the next day. That’s if you’re lucky enough to get 200$/day for your troubles. Less than that and it’s pure extortion by my book. Some of the people I love the most in the world think I’m a spoiled brat when I say this but I stand by it: you could pay me 4,000$/day to sit behind a computer in a grey office and I’d continue to think it’s an idiotic way to use my time. Of course, I’d still take you up on the offer for a couple of years, buy a house and cross my fingers that a bus didn’t hit me before retirement. I’m only human after all and all those years of telling me to choose security above all else can’t be brushed aside just like that.  * * * One way I survived in the corporate world is by dreaming big of the outside world. Last year, I took a 6 months sabbatical and had the time of my life. Last month, I quit my comfy job and set out to do the opposite of what I’ve been doing in an office. Instead of being productive through the stern and narrow-minded application of inflexible templates, I will be actively and conscientiously trying something new every day. My goal here is to prove to you that you can be both creative and productive. In fact, the more you produce, the more creative you’ll become. Take two music producers of equal talent and experience. One spends one year working on 12 tracks for an album. The other spends one year working on 120 tracks, picking 12 for the album at the end of that year. Who do you think will be the better music producer by the end of the year? To me, the answer is obvious. You’ll learn much more working on 120 projects. It follows that you’ll have improved at a faster rate than the music producer who hit their head against the metaphorical wall, going over the 12 tracks over and over again in search of that perfect sound. In fact, I’d go so far as to say a less talented music producer who works on 120 tracks every year will soon surpass a more talented music producer who works on 12 tracks every year. The more you produce, the more you will feel the need to experiment (in part to avoid boredom). The more you experiment, the more you will improve. The more you improve, the more confident you will be. The more confident you are, the more you will produce. See how that works? Isn’t it exciting?! Doesn’t it make you want to sit down and open that DAW of yours?! Well it excites me and I’m off to my open my DAW!! Type to you soon,JoKe


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