Being prolific is the path to creative freedom. You’re free to try things that might not work. You’re free to take risks, push edges, and do whatever you want. When you’re prolific the work that you’re destined to do will reveal itself. If it doesn’t work, come back again tomorrow and make more art.
If you want to become a prolific creator, focus on mastery instead of metrics. If you focus on mastery, the metrics will eventually take care of themselves. If you focus on metrics, you might temporarily inflate your ego while permanently decreasing your likelihood of success.
When you’re prolific, the work becomes intrinsically rewarding. You’re no longer waiting for that moment in the spotlight. The more you enjoy your work in the moment, the better it will be in the future.
There are two parts of writing a book with a publisher I hate. The beginning and the end. In the beginning, I find the blank page daunting. The voice of resistance is loudest at the beginning. At the end, I feel empty. What has been the sole purpose of my existence for 18 months is now over. That, more than any other reason, is why I start the next book.
I want to get back to the joy and intrinsic rewards that are built into being prolific.
Who You Become
The point of making more art is not what you get at the end of it. It’s who you become as a result.
When I started this journey, I was like a criminal, with a list of places in the corporate world where I’d served my time.
My biggest crime was believing that I wasn’t destined for more than showing up at a job I hated. Doing just enough not to get fired. Spending my weekends drinking as much as possible. And using the workweek to recover from the weekend.
But making more art changed me. It changed when I went to sleep, and when I got up. It changed how I spent my time, and who I spent it with. It gave me a reason to get up in the morning. I learned to slay the dragons of fear, doubt, distraction and resistance. In the words of Steven Pressfield, “I turned pro.” With that came a different life, a better life — one that would allow me to look back and say:
“I was here. This is what I made. I hope you like it. But if you don’t, no worries. I’m still going to make more art.”
This is part of a series about how to become a more prolific creator. You can download the entire book for free here.