Make More Art: The Art of Work

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Book 2: The Art of Work

If you intend to create a work of art, then you’ll need to master the art of work. They’re birds of a feather. One can’t happen without the other. In no particular order, these are things that will transform you into a prolific creator:

Treat It Like a Job.

The prolific creator treats his art like a job.

  • He has a target.
  • He creates a list of things to do.
  • He sets an intention.
  • He does the work.

Groundhog Day

I wake up at the same time every day. I do the same thing for the first 3 hours. I read for and hour; I write for an hour or however long it takes to hit my word count. That’s my schedule. It’s my sacred rhythm. Unless the surf is up or woman invites me back to bed, there are no exceptions.

Set a Target

A target gives you something to aim for, a destination to arrive at.

  • Matthew Monroe took 25 pictures a day until be became an amazing photographer.

Make a Get Done List

You have a thousand things you could do every day. But there only a small handful worth doing. To-do leaves you open to the possibility that it may not happen. Get done means makes it more likely to happen.

  1. Is it necessary?
  2. What would happen if I didn’t do this?

Set an Intention

I don’t mean an intention the in the new-age gift shop type of way. I mean something you intend to actually fucking do.

Do The Work

Put pen to paper, brush to canvas, take out your instrument. Shut the door, and start.

  • Play cacophonous and chaotic sounds on your instrument.
  • Litter the canvas.

Make It a Habit

Every creative expression is the result of action. Every action is the result of a habit. Habits are the foundation of every prolific creator’s body of work. Over a long enough timeline, habits become default behaviors.

Work Like a Mechanic and Think Like an Artist

The process for a prolific creator is mechanical, routine and predictable. You know what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it, and how long it will take. But, you have no idea what the results will be.

Develop a Signature

Every artist has a voice, a style, a signature. It’s in their DNA, waiting to be expressed, to emerge, sing, and resonate with the people you can change and the hearts you can touch.

Focus on the Process

Outcomes are out of our control. Process is not.

  • You can’t control how the movie does at the box office. But you can control how you show up on a movie set.

Have Non-Negotiable Parts

Every artist under the sun has non-negotiable parts of what they do. Fred Rogers wouldn’t allow networks to show advertisements to kids (even if it would have increased his income).

  • Commitment
  • Discipline
  • Consistency
  • Effort without immediate reward
  • Persistence and grit

Bad Days

If you’re prolific, you’ll have bad days when:

  • The actors can’t seem to nail their scenes.
  • The music sounds like shit.

Measure Your Progress

It’s useful to measure your progress. But if you measure your progress based on outcomes, you’ll believe you aren’t making any. Being prolific changes the way you measure your progress. You shift your measurement to metrics you can control.

  • 1000 words
  • 30 minutes of deliberate practice

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